You Can Do Anything!
1886 – Carl Benz invented the first automobile
I have recently been working my way through several new ventures. Anytime we try something new there is a natural hesitation that can develop. Trying something new requires some level of courage. We often can feel nervous because we are not sure what to expect. We worry if we will succeed or if we will fail. Will we embarrass ourselves? What will others Think of us? These concerns are actually common even when we try to accomplish anything—even when it’s not something new. Just the mere act of trying to accomplish something can make us feel like we are not in control and that can be pretty scary.
During this recent activity on a new project, when I was showing some hesitation, someone said to me, “You’re Iron Mike—you can do anything”. Although I generally think of myself as a disciplined self-starter who doesn’t need a push, I have to tell you the sincere encouragement went a long way. It energized me to persevere with a new determination. It helped me to believe in myself. It also got me thinking about encouragement.
Support: Tolerate or Encourage
We all probably think we support the people we care about and associate with, but what does supporting someone really look like? And what is the critical role we can play when we are in a position to support someone with their endeavors? More often than not, when we attempt to support someone, we actually end up simply tolerating them and their attempt to achieve a goal by not interfering with them or by trying to stop them. We might even try to be polite by asking about their endeavors and by trying to keep our negative comments to ourselves. This is a big mistake and a missed opportunity to make an incredible difference. What we are missing is the critical role we can play when we are in a position to support someone in achieving their goals. One of the greatest things you can do for someone is help them live up to their highest unique potential. Whether we realize it or not, we automatically influence the people we associate with and care about with everything we say and do. Why not make a conscious and deliberate effort to influence them in a more powerful and positive way?
“Therefore encourage one another and build each other up” Thessalonians 5:11
How can you encourage and build up your friends, associates, and loved ones? Here are a few tips:
Believe in them— We all have self doubts and lack faith in our abilities from time to time. It is amazing what can happen when someone believes in you, even when you don’t.
Cheer them— You can do it, I know you can! Remember when you did this… Said sincerely it is empowering.
Expect a lot from them— Many times when a parent, teacher, spouse, or friend expects more of us– we find a way to raise our standards and do more than we thought we were capable of.
Provide Vision to them— Sometime we don’t see our own potential. Help the dream bigger dreams.
I always remember the inspiring story of Bertha Benz and the profound encouragement she gave her husband Carl Benz. Despite his many repeated failures, Bertha constantly pushed him to trust in his abilities to make his vision of a “vehicle powered by a gas engine” come true. She believed in him even, when he lost belief in himself, helping him through numerous difficult times. With every challenge she encouraged him to try harder and harder. Although his invention received a great deal of attention and enthusiasm, it was not an economic success. At one point Carl Benz was beset with doubts that it could ever become commercially viable and was about to give up. Unbeknownst to her husband, Bertha believed in him so much that she decided to take the car on a long distance publicity road trip, the pioneering trip proved to the world that the vehicle was suitable for everyday use. Her unending belief in him and his capabilities resulted in Benz & Company becoming the leading producer of automobiles at the turn of the century.
Here’s what I want you to take away from this:
Whether we realize it or not, with everything we do and say, we are influencing the people we care about. We play a vital supporting role for these people. Encouragement is empowerment, and it comes in two parts. First is pointing out what you believe is possible for the other person. Second is challenging them to succeed at it despite inevitable setbacks. Tell them what you believe they can do, and challenge them to do it. This is much more than motivation, because you can motivate anyone, but you can only encourage someone you truly believe in—and therein lies the power. It requires you to get very specific and encourage them to try to do some precise activity that you think they are capable of. “I think you’d be good at this” or “You can do that”. Then give them a little direction and guidance– here’s how you should try it. Behind most every successful person are people who said to them, you should try this—I think you can do it– I think you would be great at it—and here’s how you should try it!
When you step up and encourage someone you change the way they perceive themselves and their abilities. This allows them to go farther than they alone could have imaged. This will massively change their life– and your life, for the better!
-Iron Mike Stone 11.10.17