This month I taught a two day professional development program for an organization in North Carolina. One of the assignments was for participants to share a story that would inspire someone to make a positive change in their life personally or professionally. John (name changed for the blog) took the front of the room, he is in his mid-20’s, has a great smile and looks like he could be a firefighter posing on a yearly calendar with his coal black hair and bulky build.
I was blown away when he shared how he had lost over 100 pounds and at that time in his life didn’t feel good about himself. His girlfriend and he had moved in together, he continued to loose some weight, but then the relationship ended and it sent him into a deep depression. He hid his feelings and situation from everyone at work, and he continued to feel terrible about himself.
He worked hard to lift himself back up and decided that he had to believe in himself. So, he encouraged the audience, that no matter what your circumstances you HAVE to believe in yourself. Several people had tears in their eyes, including me because it reminded me of the first time a man told me I was beautiful.
When he was done with his speech and the applause stopped, I said, “John, can I give you some coaching?” He said, “Yes.” Then I asked him to repeat after me demonstrating in my loud cheerleader voice saying, “I AM HANDSOME!” He said it loudly raising his arms, with a big smile. We high fived each other to another round of applause!
I then told the entire class my story about how my 8th grade crush who I reconnected with last spring was the first man to ever tell me that I was beautiful and what a positive impact it made for me.
Never underestimate the power of encouraging words.
In fact, at the end of the session I shared attributes for each participant and examples of how I observed those traits over the two day session. One participant with over 30 years of experience in his industry approached me after class with tears in his eyes and said, “Merikay, no one has ever shared feedback like that with me, thank you.”
WOW! We all have 24 hours in a day, take a moment, share with people at home or work the impact you see them contributing to the world. Your words of impact may serve to coach others to encourage and transform a life.
You will be a catalyst for positive, purposeful change.