As every successful person understands, achieving one’s own objective is simply not enough. Sooner or later, you realize that there is more to life than just achieving your own objectives. One of life’s greatest challenges and most rewarding responsibilities is to continually encourage others to live up to their potential! Regardless of if you are a business leader, friend, parent or spouse, one of the most important obligations you have is to lift others to new levels of success and help them live to their potential. If done properly, this can be made into a winning situation for all involved.
It’s important to realize that you are always influencing the people around you, in general and the people who look to you for leadership, in particular, either positively or negatively. Everything you say has an effect and your actions have significance. These words and actions can be used to build others up or tear them down. Obviously, you would prefer to build people up, I hope. Here are ten things you can do to help others identify and realize the best that’s within them:
- Believe in Them: Everyone lacks confidence at times. Sometimes people question their abilities to achieve an objective or accomplish a task. Many times, that lack of confidence can be overcome just by knowing that someone believes in you. Having someone believe in you, in these circumstances, is immeasurable and is often the only thing that stands between failure and success. Think back to a time when someone believed in you, even when you doubted yourself. It made you feel good, didn’t it? History is full of examples of great people who became successful because someone believed in them, even though they struggled with their own confidence.
- Expect More: I expect more from myself than anyone could ever ask of me; and I can guess that if you are following this program, that it is very likely that you do too. Unfortunately, many people around you have been conditioned by society, “not to get their hopes up.” It’s been my experience that the more you ask of someone, the more you will get. By increasing your expectations, you can lift other people up to new levels of achievement. Has there ever been a time when your boss handed you an “impossible” project, expecting you to complete it and somehow you did? Be careful not to overwhelm someone, but do expect a lot.
- Lead by Example: One of the most effective ways to bring out the best in others is through your own actions. The way you act, both publicly and privately, says much more about you than what comes out of your mouth. Your kids are constantly watching you, for the way you react to all of life’s circumstances and situations. You may tell your kids to eat their broccoli, but if you don’t set the example by actually doing it yourself, they may do it to avoid being punished, but as soon as your gone, the broccoli’s going straight into the trash. People naturally try to act like their mentors and you are a mentor to someone, so mentor by example!
- Be A Source of Encouragement: How often do you encourage other people? With the pace of society today, it is very easy to get “caught up” in your day-to-day busyness and forget that you can really help someone by speaking words such as: “You can do it” or “I know you can.” Genuine encouragement can go far in helping someone persevere. Making this a habit will lift everyone you come into contact with to new levels of success. Try saying to a friend, who may be having problems at home, “I know that you are going through a difficult time with your spouse, but I know that you two will work it out. Your relationship will come out even stronger in the end.”
- Always Tell the Truth: Many people will avoid telling the truth, because they don’t want to hurt someone’s feelings or lose a friend. But in order to truly help someone, you must tell the truth! I know that you want to be liked, but telling the truth is an action that shows real concern and friendship. It may be, that what needs to be said, can only come from you. You’re boyfriend or girlfriend drinks too much? By telling them and confronting the problem, you may not only help them stop, you may also let them realize how much you care.
- Expose Your Failures: Your failures are the greatest learning experiences for others who may be doing what you tried to do in the past. Many people, to avoid looking vulnerable, will hide the failures that they have encountered. Showing other people that you have failed can really help them by showing them that everyone fails! In fact, the most successful people are the ones who have failed the most. Be proud of your failures! You can use them to encourage other people and to remember where you have been. Telling your spouse about the broken dream you had, may be enough to keep her motivated in pursuing her vision.
- Praise Them: Catch someone doing something right. It’s easy to criticize others when they are not living up to your expectations. Over time, this leads to a breakdown of someone’s self-esteem and their ability to encourage themselves. Learn to give positive feedback and you’ll be amazed at the results. In my family, there is a rule that everyone must follow: every time you need to criticize someone, you must also give them ten compliments. If you are a sales manager, try this with someone on your team. When people know that they will get rewarded for positive actions, they tend to do them more often.
- Listen and Ask Good Questions: A successful person doesn’t tell other people what to do. They learn to ask thought-provoking questions, in order for others to rationalize decisions more clearly. This helps them to get clear on the implications of their choices. When the questions are asked, sit back and listen. Use why and how questions, as opposed to yes and no know questions; this will help them to make good choices, because they will come to their own conclusions. They will also learn to respect you as someone who they can trust. By asking well thought out questions, you cause others to think of their own solutions to problems, which will lead to more self-reliance.
- Learn to Motivate Others: Learn what causes people in your life to be motivated. Everyone has different motivations and people who are “unmotivated” will only work hard enough to keep their current position in life. Someone who is sufficiently motivated will strive for excellence, in spite of the obstacles. Everyone needs to be challenged from time to time. This is how we grow and become better. Learning to challenge and motivate others is a skill that will not only improve your relationships, but also improve everyone around you. Think of someone you know that is just going through the motions of daily living; how can you motivate them?
- Invest Your Most Precious Asset: Do you want to know what someone cherishes and respects? Watch to see where they spend their time. If you learn to invest your time in people that you want to succeed, they will! You will communicate the message that they are important and they will learn to respect and value the time you spend with them. My teen-aged son and daughter know that I will drop everything and focus completely on them; they know that they’re important and how much I love them. I have no doubt about their future success. Cancel your “night out” and spend time with those who truly matter. Use this most treasured of resources to lift others up! Remember, once your out of time, you can’t do any more to help others.
Learning how to bring out the best in others is one of the most important skills you can learn. When you understand how to do this effectively, then you have truly become successful.
Michael at R2W
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