Need a pep talk?
An encouraging nudge is the best way to inspire greatness
Years ago, a friend showed me some of his digital photographs. While this normally wouldn’t be Earth-shattering news, his photos were stunning.
No, really. They took my breath away and spoke to me in a way that only beautiful art can.
So I told him that.
His response? He was glad I “liked them” but said he needed to make a few tweaks and wanted to work on their resolution.
I had to repeat myself before he actually heard me.
Around the same time, another friend shared with me her screenplay, but not before she apologized for its “typos and weird formatting issues.”
Though it took me longer than I hoped to read it, once I did, I made sure to tell her how awesome I thought it was.
Sadly, I can understand my friends’ hesitancy in acknowledging the compliments and their use of qualifiers to set expectations.
After all, when you put yourself out there, creatively speaking, the world can be a harsh place. Haters, trolls, and critics come out of the woodwork. It’s much safer to hide your work away rather than subject it to opinion.
But here’s the thing: keeping that brilliance to yourself robs you of your chance to shine. Worse, you’ll miss out on the opportunity to provide the world with creative beauty that is uniquely yours.
I say this because I want to remind you that words have power.
Power to uplift and support.
Power to ignite an inner spark.
Power to change the world for good.
And their power increases the more frequently you speak them.
Of course, words can also have an adverse effect.
I bet each of us can recount a time when a well-meaning friend or family member used their words to “help” explain why something didn’t go our way (“If you had done ____, then maybe you would have been more successful.”)
Sorry, not helpful. And now I feel worse.
Even when we don’t use hurtful words, a dismissive comment such as “that’s nice” can be equally demoralizing to someone on the brink of a creative breakthrough.
Here are a few things to consider as you aspire to be a positive force:
If someone shares a sample of their creative work with you, be honored and give that person your undivided attention.
This person has trusted you with something deeply personal and meaningful, which means your opinion matters. A lot. Please be respectful and supportive by listening attentively and offering your full attention.
Love something? Tell someone. (Preferably more than once.)
I doubt there is a person alive that wouldn’t want to hear words of praise and adoration repeatedly.
Realize that your encouraging nudge may be the catalyst someone needs to keep going.
Starting right now, I want you to be aware of the enormous gift you can give someone (and yourself) simply by offering — and repeating — encouraging words. Hearing those words just might be the difference between giving up and persevering.
Remember: you have the power to inspire greatness.
All it takes is a little nudge.*
And speaking of encouraging nudges,* how about giving yourself one?
Though many look to books, podcasts, and TED Talks for career development, what fuels your progress most isn’t external; it’s internal.
In my latest Forbes article, I share how to tap into an unexpected yet powerful force a little closer to home: your self-perception.
P.S. When I’m not writing this newsletter or offering encouraging nudges, I’m a social media ghostwriter. (Yep, that’s a thing). I help founders, entrepreneurs, and CXOs craft their stories to communicate and connect better by magnifying their reach and impact. (Think personal branding and thought leadership.) Learn more here.
P.P.S. Now that we’re inbox-exclusive (love that about us!), why not follow my musings across the interwebs on Forbes, LinkedIn (be sure to hit the 🔔 in the top right corner of my profile to get notified when I post!), Twitter, and Instagram too?
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*Hey, friends! It’s my birthday today (Yay, me!) and I want to give YOU a present.
The students at West Side Elementary School in Healdsburg, California, created a free telephone hotline where you can listen to uplifting messages from kids.
Need a pep talk? Call (707) 998-8410 and prepare to be delighted by kindergarteners offering encouraging nudges. Trust me on this; it’ll definitely be worth your while.
This week's wise words resonated even more than normal this morning as I had been to see a wonderful Van Gogh Alive exhibition over the weekend. As well as being an amazing, self-taught artist, it was actually his insights, views and perspectives from the many letters he wrote over his life that really inspired me - notably "what would life be if we had no courage to attempt anything" and "close friends are truly life's treasures ... with gentle honesty, they are there to guide and support us". Thanks (and belated birthday wishes too)
Happy Birthday, Amy!