Understanding is not always achieved by talking.
If you’ve ever had teenagers, you know this fact is true.
We named our youngest son Will never expecting him to literally live into that name. He was so well named, in fact, that we used to call him “Won’t”. Not all the time, but on those occasions when we couldn’t get through by simply telling him something that we considered valuable.
Understanding is achieved by whatever it takes to make the light bulbs of “aha” fire in another person’s brain.
I learned this (again) last weekend when I had an opportunity to teach some young adults about the Awareness skill of encouragement.
If this group was a car they would have one gear – GO!
They were not interested in hearing the idea until after they had practiced it. We engaged them by setting up situations where they had to guess the intent of the speaker. Even though the words used were the same they delighted in figuring out what was really meant.
We used a movie clip from The Princess Bride followed by improv exercises as our beginning – you have to meet them where they are – right? We completed the morning by asking them to first list their strengths.
Next, we gave them index cards with a strength written on each one. Each person had to choose a strength to give someone that fit them in their opinion. There were grins and appreciative smiles at the end.
Encouragement is something that we all think we practice from time to time. We view it as a pat on the back or telling someone they can do something that may be challenging.
But encouragement is so much bigger than that. It can become a superpower for leadership and life if we raise our ability to use the skill sets that make it up and use them intentionally.
Encouragement is the ability to see the light inside someone that they frequently cannot see themselves and through those skill sets of observation, awareness, listening, curiosity, playfulness, and engagement strengthen hearts that may only need one encounter to express a
level of brilliance that was never before seen or imagined.
It is also the ability to see those things in oneself when the going gets tough. These are
things worth learning at the highest level possible.