I was hosted by Grand Heron International as a guest blogger and this post was first published in the blog of Grand Heron International.
Your Powers Are Needed
Your existence is vital.
You have the power to change lives.
I know it because my life was changed many times by people like you.
These people saw me, told me and changed me.
"Who am I?” I had never needed to ask this question to myself until the day I graduated from the university. Until that day, I followed a path that was set for me. I studied well I fulfilled all the requirements for the next step and the next step and the next. Until that day, when there were no directions anymore. Now I needed to make the choices. What would be my work? What would make me happy? Who was I?
I got my first job before I could answer these questions. It was awful. I couldn’t breath. I fell into a depression.
Next time I made a better choice. Third time was even a better one, but soon that also lost its meaning. What else could I do? What would work for me? What was I really good at? I couldn’t come up with anything else than what I have done so far. What I had done so far only brought me that far.
So I asked my friends. They told me I always had high energy. I always created a friendly atmosphere. People enjoyed listening to me. I would approach people easily. They could picture me working in HR, as a lecturer in a university or a customer service representative.
What they told me brought me an old memory. Years ago I had worked with a coach and during one of our coaching sessions I had said to myself “You know what, I could do this and I could do this really well.” Somehow I had forgotten that. The acknowledgement of my strengths by my friends rekindled this fire. I put myself on the path of coaching. I got trained as a coach, achieved my coaching credential and started my coaching business.
They saw me, they told me, and they changed me.
Years later I was chatting with Mihaela, who I had recently met through our joint connections and got very close quickly, when she told me every time she was talking with me she felt inspired. The questions I asked, my observations and thoughts energized her. "You should create a podcast" she said. “What?” I responded. How could I do that? I had no idea about putting a podcast together and what would I talk about? I doubted I could do it but she put the seed in my head. In the following weeks, through synchronicity or maybe selective perception, I got an email from Seth Godin about the newest workshop he was running about podcasting. I joined the course and launched my podcast before the workshop was over.
I owe my podcast to the acknowledgement of my strengths by my friend Mihaela.
She saw me, she told me, and she changed me.
After changing my career direction to coaching I had also started giving trainings. I was able to deliver my message and moderate the discussions but it felt so difficult to stand on stage and speak. I decided to take action on that and joined Toastmasters. I practiced speaking often, relaxed into my excitement on stage and started enjoying it. But the biggest gifts I got from Toastmasters were not about developing my speaking skills, it was about understanding more about who I was.
My first gift came after one of my speeches when my dedicated evaluator Darya added to her feedback an acknowledgement: "I love listening to you. You have such a beautiful voice.” What a surprise was that for me! My earliest memory about my voice was my father telling me I sounded funny. The recordings on tape confirmed that. I always talked with this “knowledge” that I had a funny voice, I was never outspoken, never loud. After Darya’s acknowledgement a new world opened to me. I started enjoying my voice. I got more confident speaking on my podcast, with others in conversations and voicing my thoughts in meetings.
I received the second gift after another speech I gave. Stefan, a fellow Toastmaster told me I had lots of different face expressions when I was telling a sad story but only one expression when I was talking about something happy. That had never occurred to me! There was no way I could see this in myself. But after reflection, I understood that it was true. I actually valued sadness more and therefore had varieties of face expressions for it whereas happiness was a fast simple quick thing, a passage between sad stories. That hit me! I did not want my life to be sadness-dominated. I started noticing intentionally the happy moments, creating more of these moments and worked on lightening up quickly when something disappointing or difficult happened. I picked up meditating and my life changed completely.
Darya acknowledged my strength, Stefan mirrored me back my expressions. They saw me, they told me, and they changed me.
The stories I told you were stories of how some people changed my life.
I knew only a portion of who I was and sometimes I knew it wrong! They enriched my view with what they saw in me. They helped me see a stronger version of myself, which enabled me to make big changes in my life.
You have this enormous power of changing people’s lives! All you need is to really see the people you are with and tell them. Tell them what skills you see in them that touch you, that inspire you, that make a difference. Acknowledge them. Tell it to your team members, your managers, your peers, your friends, and your family members. See them and tell them. You will change them.