How does a parent, grandparent, mentor or teacher model empowerment and confidence to the kids in their circle of influence?
The primary way anything is taught to children is through modeling. We show them the behavior we desire. From the time they are infants, children are constantly watching and mimicking what we do and say.
They May Not Do What You Say, But What You Do
If there is a discrepancy between what we do and what we say, they learn a whole different lesson than what we set out to teach. If you are giving your child a lecture on lying, then the phone rings and you tell him to say you aren’t home if it is your crazy Aunt Mabel, which behavior do you think he will adapt in his life?
The most important way to convey the lessons of encouragement, empowerment and confidence is to show them how to behave, or model the behavior. The most effective way to teach your child he or she has the power to take positive action and make changes in behavior is to allow them to see you work through challenges. We need to walk the walk, and guide them to persist in the process of a lifelong learning experience.
Teach Problem Solving
Teach and mentor others something that will improve their lives. Sometimes just a word or gesture that shows you have confidence in their ability to problem solve gives them courage to move forward. Help them to achieve goals they can’t reach by themselves. Empower them to succeed.
Every situation has at least five solutions. Help them to help themselves in all areas of life. Encourage them to look at a problem from different angles and perspectives.
Acknowledge & Appreciate Success
Many of the people in your life who are top performers may be limiting their effectiveness because they don’t realize just how good they are. The greatest gift we can do for others is not to share our riches but to reveal theirs.
At a recent parenting class I was talking about discovering the accomplishments of their children. The goal was to have them recognize their own strengths, skills and talents. I started with a ball thrown to a participant with the instruction to yell out something they were good at and then throw the ball to another person.
Surprisingly, many of the participants had great difficulty recognizing and acknowledging their own special talents. It took some gentle prodding and suggestions from others for them to see themselves in a new and powerful light.
Once we got going it was much easier to recognize that not everyone can make delicious chocolate chip cookies. It is a skill to be able to be able to return an item to a store that not everyone has. It takes someone special to be able to bring peace to a conflict at work.
Part of empowering others is to make sure we recognize and applaud our own accomplishments. Many have been taught to not get “a big head” or that “that’s not so special.” We need to help them reveal to themselves and others what great gifts they have been given.
Third Party Credibility
I remember hearing the phrase “Criticize in private, Praise in public” and it really seemed like a good idea to incorporate in my business and personal life. Since the word criticize has some bad connotations for me, I prefer to use the word feedback or mentor.
You will find more about that philosophy in my parenting book How to Discipline Without Damage.
Whenever you get a chance to brag about someone do it. That is called third party credibility and carries a lot of weight. How do I know? Because I leave reviews on YELP, recommendations on Angie’s list and write testimonials for people I do business with.
Don’t allow your children, friends and associates to dismiss or ignore a success. Reveal their victories to them by documenting success on performance reviews or testimonials on Linked In or YELP. Send them a note of congratulations. Post a Hurrah on Facebook. Let them know that you noticed and were impressed with their success.
It takes so little time to empower and encourage others and yet many would prefer to be part of the destruction crew rather than the builders and enhancers of others. I have never quite got why so many people will cheer for their team to win a football game but won’t give their own kid a high-five and an atta-boy.
- Do you acknowledge your own successes out loud and in your mind? Practice saying “Yay Me.”
- Do you share the success of others in public by compliments, reviews and testimonials?
- Do you model confidence in finding solutions and assuming your own power?
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