I read the following in a daily devotional called ‘Word for Today’ which I read every day for inspiration and it made me think.
“Encouragement can work miracles. In the movie Stand and Deliver, high school teacher Jaime Escalante has two students in his class named Johnny. One is a happy child and an excellent student; the other spends his time messing around and getting into trouble.
When the Parent Teacher Association held its first meeting of the year, a mother came up to Jaime and asked, ‘How’s my son, Johnny getting along?’ Jaime mistakenly assumed she was the mother of the better student, so he replied, ‘I can’t tell you how much I enjoy him, I’m so glad he is in my class’.
A life changed forever
The next day ‘problem Johnny’ came to Jaime and said, ‘My mom told me what you said about me last night, I haven’t ever had a teacher who wanted me in his class.’ The result? He completed his assignments that day, and brought in his completed homework the next morning.
A few weeks later he had become one of Jaime’s hardest working students – and one of his best friends. His life had been turned around because of an accidental word of encouragement. It works like this: When you look for good in a person and express it, you give them something to live up to. In other words, you motivate them to be better than they are.”
The power of encouragement
This is a great example of the power of encouragement which is something I love to demonstrate with people I meet. I make it a point to comment on something positive I see about them and I want them to leave feeling better about themselves. The impact words can have is massive and they can have a positive or a negative effect.
By choosing to find strengths in people and making them aware of these, you will have a powerful impact which can affect their lives forever. This may seem a little exaggerated but this really can have a dramatic affect. I remember being left on the wall in PE as none of the captains wanted me in their teams. This left me devastated, humiliated and resulted in a very low self-esteem.
My uncle changed my life forever
A fortuitous trip to Poland to meet my uncle, who was 6ft 9inches tall and played for the Polish Army basketball team, changed my life. A few words of encouragement from him lit a fire within and gave me a glimmer of hope which I grasped with both hands. The words he spoke were louder than the words spoken by those captains in PE and it changed my life.
This one moment of encouragement led me to play basketball for England and eventually play professionally for Sunderland. I had an amazing career and this has now led me to run my own speaking and coaching business travelling across the world and is very exciting. I wish my uncle was still alive because I never fully appreciated the impact he had on me until the last few years.
Negative Anchors are hard to break
The impact of negative words can have a lifelong effect on a child. If a pupil puts their hand up to answer a question in class and the teacher ridicules them by telling them that they are wrong, silly or stupid; that child will find it very hard to put their hand up again the next time they are given the opportunity to offer an answer. That negative ‘Anchor’ is now set and can be with them throughout their lives.
My negative anchor was set in PE when I wasn’t chosen by any of the captains. It was so powerful that I did everything I could to avoid that humiliation in front of the class. I hate to think where my life would be now if I hadn’t met my uncle. This has happened several times in my life and each time a negative ‘Anchor’ has been removed by someone encouraging me in a positive way.
Self-talk or your Inner Voice is also a very powerful whether it is positive or negative. Take the example of Eden Hazzard who plays football for Chelsea. Last year he had a wonderful season and he was voted the best player in the Premier League. He is a wonderful talent and has been tipped as the next superstar to grace the game.
This season however he has had the worst season in his career – it has been a disaster. From being the best player in the league to one of the worst and it’s a mystery to many people as to the reason for this. Some say injuries, but many believe it goes deeper than that and I wonder if I have spotted what it really is.
Eden Hazard negative voice
I have just read an interview given by him in a national newspaper and this comment jumped out at me like a flashing red light. He said “I’ve long told myself that one day I would have a season like the one I am going through.” Can you believe that a great player like this could make such a fundamental mistake to visualise a bad season and to talk about a bad one coming up!
The phrase ‘A self-fulfilling prophesy comes to mind or as I put it ‘What you See and What you Say is What you get’ and he certainly got it. You have to be so careful with the words which come out of your mouth and the thoughts you create in your mind.
Don’t forget that I am speaking at the Bio Networking event on Monday 16th May https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/bio-networking-tickets-21035530839 it would be great to see you there.
Thoughts for the week
1. Consider all the people you come in contact with and see if you can think of something you like about them, or they are good at
2. Next time you see them make a point to tell them
3. When you wake up in the morning be determined to encourage at least a couple of people that day
4. If you encourage two people a day over 5 days – in a year you have encouraged 500 people!
5. As you encourage others be ready for good things to start to happen to you, because as you sow you reap
6. Be very aware of your inner voice – if it’s negative then you are attracting negative things into your life
7. Be aware of the words you speak if they are negative the same applies
Well that’s it for this week.
Stay positive and have a great weekend