Good morning! I hope your day is off to a great start.
We’ve been talking a lot over the past several days about goals and the things we can do to achieve them. And yesterday we talked about the reality that each of us has within us the ability to make that happen. And as I wrote those words, I wondered how many of us have actually heard them through most of our life. Affirmation doesn’t seem to be overly abundant in this world.
I’m reading a book by the late Rich Devos, Ten Powerful Phrases for Positive People. It’s a short book, and an easy read if you’re in the mood for something uplifting. The chapter I read yesterday afternoon was about a simple but very powerful phrase – “You can do it!”
How often have we heard that throughout our lives? And, by contrast, how often have we heard the exact opposite? “You’d better stick to your day job.” “The odds of you accomplishing that are one in a million!” “Are you serious? That’ll never work!” And, here’s the real question … how many times have you uttered those words yourself? If you’re completely honest, it can be disheartening.
I grew up in a family where we were encouraged to be the best we could be. When I was a boy, all I wanted was to be a doctor. Mom and Dad were proud of that aspiration and did everything they could to let me know I could accomplish that goal. When the teenage years hit and I decided to be a rock star, I realized pretty quickly that I’d be chasing that dream on my own.
We all want the best for our kids, and my parents were no different. But all too often, we try to shape their dreams to match the vision we had for them. Instead of encouraging them to be great at whatever they decide to do, we tend to steer them toward being great at the things we want them to do.
Think of the little boy standing at home plate with a bat resting on his shoulder, a look of complete boredom in his face, and his parents standing behind him yelling, “You can do it, Timmy! Hit it out of the park!” They’re giving him plenty of positive affirmation. But is it what he really wants to do? Or would he rather be sitting in a quiet room, scribbling gothic images with the hope of becoming a great tattoo artist?
Affirmation is important. In fact, it’s critical. No matter what we attempt, we should be able to do it with the full moral support of our family and friends. And no matter what they attempt, they should know we have complete confidence in their ability to succeed. That’s what affirmation is all about. It’s the knowledge that, not only do you know you can succeed, but everyone else knows it as well.
We can’t control the feedback we receive from others. It’s their honest opinion, and they’ll usually share it with your best interests at heart. But sincerity doesn’t always equal accuracy. Just because somebody offers advice, that doesn’t mean we should take it to heart.
But we do have control over the feedback we give others. And, in encouraging somebody else to pursue their own dreams, assuring them they have what it takes to succeed, we’re reminding ourselves that we also have what it takes to achieve our own goals. You can’t compliment somebody else without feeling better yourself. And you can’t affirm somebody else without affirming yourself.
When we lift up those around us, we lift ourselves as well. Words of affirmation need to begin at a young age and continue throughout our lives. We have the power to make that happen. When somebody shares a dream, instead of poking holes in it, focus on how they can make it happen. That is, after all, why they shared their goal to begin with. They wanted affirmation.
Dreams are easily born, and just as easily crushed. And all too often, it’s not the cold, cruel world that crushes our dreams. It’s those closest to us – the people we love and trust the most. Every one of us has the ability to accomplish anything we desire. But we can only do that if we believe in ourselves enough to make it happen. Feed that belief. In yourself, and in everyone around you. Then wait for the magic to happen.
That’s all for now. Have an awesome day!