Share Your Struggles With Others

I received an email this week from a friend I serve on a volunteer board with.  She was asking a question about one of the financial reports.  During her email, she confided that due to her lack of understanding about the financial reports, she felt inept to serve on the board.  I knew exactly how my friend felt, because they are in the same feelings I had during my first term serving on the board.

I remember so clearly a conversation I had with the board chairman during my first term.  It seemed to me like I didn’t bring any value and questioned whether I should even be on the board.  He told me that I did in fact add value, and the best thing I could do was to continue asking questions like I had been doing in previous board meetings.  Those comments really encouraged me, so I did what he said.  After a few more board meetings, my own feelings of ineptitude began to wane and I started to feel like I was actually adding value.

I’m so glad I shared with the chairman how I was struggling.  He gave me some encouraging advice, and also communicated that I was needed and offered more value than I realized.  What’s even better is that I got to share that experience with my friend who is currently having a similar struggle.  I was able to have empathy and offer encouragement and remind her of the value she brings.

It felt great to encourage someone and remind them of their value in a particular situation, especially when that value was in question for them.

None of us are perfect.  We’ve all faced struggles that leave us feeling overwhelmed, inept, and even discouraged.  The good news regarding these situations is that once we get past them, we can offer encouragement and perhaps a new perspective to someone who is experiencing a similar struggle.

Pay attention to what the people around you are saying.  Listen for struggles they are facing that are similar to ones that you have experience and be quick to offer encouragement and to reinforce their value.

What a tremendous blessing to be able to encourage someone in their moment of need.

Be Curious

A couple of weeks ago I went to listen to a lecture by Brent McGregor, a photographer and ice cave explorer who has done significant work on Oregon’s Mt. Hood.  I expected to learn a lot about ice caves on Mt. Hood, which I did, but I was surprised by what, for me, was the biggest take-away from his talk.

His lecture was extremely interesting, and the pictures and video he presented were breathtaking.  What was most interesting to me however was that Brent came to ice-caving later in life, and has been able to have significant impact on ice cave research and exploration in such relatively short time.

This encourages me, because I’m reminded that no matter our age, we still have the capacity to be curious and interested in new things.  We also have the ability, and privilege, to pursue those things that interest us.

Fortunately, there is no age where we are no longer allowed to be curious or interested.  The only limits to our curiosity are the ones we place upon ourselves.

Go out and be curious.

The Secret Ingredient

I believe there is a not-so-secret ingredient to achieving results in any area of your life.  Before I share this not-so-secret ingredient, let’s first review the other necessary ingredients in the proven formula for achieving results:

Vision + Knowledge + ? = Results

The first 2 components of the formula make sense, right?  Without a vision of the result you want, it would be challenging to even know where to begin.  We must first know where we’re going (know the result we seek) before we can move toward its achievement.

Likewise, we must also possess the knowledge required to achieve the results we want.  A vision will only prove frustrating if we lack the requisite knowledge for its attainment.

So, you’re probably wondering, “What is the secret ingredient you say I need in order to achieve results?”  The complete formula for achieving results is:

Vision + Knowledge + ACTION = Results

Does that secret ingredient leave you feeling dissatisfied?  Were you perhaps expecting something more exciting and grand?  The truth is, any results or success we seek only come through the disciplined and consistent application of action.  We’re not talking about action that fills our time and causes us to appear busy, but rather specific actions that move us closer to our desired results.

Very often, this is the step that trips people up.  If we’re honest with ourselves, we usually know the necessary action we should be taking to achieve the results we want.  We simply need to be courageous enough to take the action we already know we should.  We need to cause something to happen.

What results are you trying to achieve that could use a healthy dose of necessary action?  You probably already know what action you need to take.  So… when will you take it?  Today would be a good day to start.

Don’t delay.  Results await!

Compounding a Compliment

If you want to make someone’s day, share with them how much you genuinely appreciate something they’ve done for you.  If you want to make their week, share it with someone they work for, or someone close to them.

This week I received a nice email from a department leader that my team and I support.  In the email the department leader shared about a recent meeting one of our business units had with a vendor I support.  Even though I was not present, at the end of the meeting, this vendor made a point to mention to everyone how much he appreciates the support I’ve been providing him.

When I read the email, I felt great!  Not only did I appreciate hearing the comments the vendor made, I thought it was extremely cool that the vendor let others know what a great job he thought I was doing.  It really did make my week.

We also have the same capacity to makes someone else’s week by sharing their accomplishments and our appreciation for them with people they know.  For example, you can:

  • Tell a parent about something their child did that was unique, helpful, or showing of good character.
  • Let the owner or manager of a restaurant know what a great job your waiter or waitress did for you.
  • Tell the spouse of someone you know how much you appreciate something their spouse has done or a character trait of theirs that you admire.

What’s cool about doing this is that not only will the person you’re speaking positively about feel good, so will the person you told.  People like to deliver good news, so you’re also giving the person you told the opportunity to pass along a kind word.  It’s a 3-way-win:

  1. You’ll feel good for passing along a kind word.
  2. The person you told will feel good about passing it along to the person you were speaking well of.
  3. The recipient will feel good hearing your compliment AND knowing that you spoke well about them to other people.

Who has done something good for you recently, or over an extended period of time?  Who has some positive character traits that you admire?  Once you determine who that is, tell someone close to them about it.  The opportunities are endless.  Don’t wait, start today.