For many people, myself included, the reminder of our own abilities is enough to get us to take a step in a new direction. When I know that someone believes in me, it feels like a vote of confidence. And who doesn’t need that?
On this Mother’s Day weekend, I’m having a flashback (not a hot flash although maybe that too) to my early and formative years where a few nurturing people took the time to help me build self esteem and self worth by ENCOURAGING me.
One of the igniters of my potential was my mom – bringing me into this world and helping encourage me until I developed the confidence to believe in myself. But encouragement came from other sources as well – my dad, teachers, sisters, and even strangers.
Encouragement is easy. No money is involved, limited time is required, and you don’t need to be an expert on the topic.
All you need is to see the potential in someone and tell them what you see:
“I believe in you.”
“Give it a try.”
“You did something easier than that last week.”
When I was thinking about writing a book, I mentioned it to a new friend, Katie Hafner, a highly acclaimed writer and journalist.
Instead of dismissing me as an amateur (which I am) she gave me encouragement to try. Fast forward: my book is now with an editor and nearing completion. It’s something I’d never done before and if it wasn’t for a few words of encouragement from Katie, I wouldn’t be where I am.
What was something you did that you never thought you would be able to do? Who encouraged you to get started?
Here’s what you can do to pass that feeling on, encouraging someone else to take a step that may scare them.
- Tell them you believe in them. Sometimes all we need is one person to tell us we can do something. Maybe you have a friend who wants to move or a colleague with plans to start their own business. Sharing why you think they can do that thing could push them to actually go for it.
- Show them how this step can enhance their life. Take a minute to list out three ways taking a risk could make them feel more confident or open up a new way to see themselves. Then give that list to them.
- Be vulnerable and share a time when you took a chance and it turned out for the better (or worse). Focus on the lessons you learned that you wouldn’t have, had you not taken this step. When we open up about times we took risks, we share how we grew the spark to believe in ourselves. And that inspires others to do the same.
Take it from Maya Angelou, “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
To amplify your actions:
Share it with me: I hope you share how the encouragement of others gave you the confidence to take a new step by replying to this email.
Share it small: if you want more of an intimate connection, connect directly with the friend, family member, or colleague who needs a little encouraging push in the right direction.
Share it big: tell the world on social media how the encouragement of others changed your perspective on listening with #OneSmallThing.