I am certain we are always harder on ourselves than other people are on us, but let me ask you, how much confidence do you really have in yourself? Watching the Super Bowl a few years ago, Russell Wilson said (and the story was told about him many times that day) that his dad asked him, “Why not you Russell? Why not you?” He could have said, “Because I’m too small, because my arm isn’t strong enough…” he could have said to his father all the things his critics were telling him, but he didn’t. He held on to his dream and let his father’s voice echo in his head, “Why not you Russell?” This in turn became, “Why not me?” To his team, “Why not us?” So who are you? Are you like Russell Wilson or are you the one who caves in to the critics. Dave suggested that some people succeed to spite their critics. Okay, I suppose the "Tell me I can't and I'll show you I will!" isn't a bad thing, but why are we not all simply lifting each other up? I preach to Mason almost daily, "Are you a friend people want? Do you lift your friends up by encouraging them, or are you being the kid who will say, "Yours sucks, mines better!" Well, the truth of the matter is, he's a boy and a very competitive boy at that, he has to work to remember to not compete but to lift his friends up. It is my hope that by starting this message with him now, by the time he gets it, it will have shaped him to be someone who lifts others up and encourages them to ask, "Why not me?"
I’ve been the one who listens to all the people who say things like, “You can’t be an actress, you are not the right type, you are not tall enough, you are not thin enough, and you are not like a model.” “College isn’t really for you, eh, er, I mean, you are not really the college type.” “It would just be good if you could follow something through, you never follow through.” “Oh no, she has an idea, you know what that means, it’s gonna cost me money.” Where does one find the strength to not listen to those naysayers while still loving them, and still have the gumption to ask, “Why not me? I can do it, I can be it, I’m enough.” Do you feel like you are enough? I don’t. I also don’t think that many women do, especially women who are wives and mothers. As women who feel so much responsibility for the lives of others, it is incredibly difficult to focus on anything else. Heck, truth be told, we can’t focus on any one thing because there are so many one things to do, how is it possible to focus on just one at a time? From keeping up with the housewifery, the kids school work, after school schedules, medical and dental appointments, grocery shopping, in my case, real estate that I am trying to do more of while working for another top producing agent, and more…so I’m told to drop some of these things and focus on me, my business, what I want. Really?
And where does talent play into this equation? Dave brought up the example of the people who audition for American Idol, the people who can not sing. Is it a good idea to encourage these people and set them up for failure? I would say in life, this example is more an exception than a rule. We live in a society that is not one of encouragement but of competition and the belief that we can make people stronger by continually knocking them down - some people, yes, others, no. And to the singing point, certainly not everyone can sing, as I well know! But could we encourage one to sing for pleasure yet say, "Singing may not be your professional calling - how can you craft a career around music so you can be in the environment that you love and feel successful?" Again, it's all in how it's done, and keeping the message positive.
So let me be very clear, I am not complaining. What I am hoping my message will come across as is this, if we really see big things and lots of potential in someone, why don't we focus on growing that? Let's not focus on the failures, or what appears to be shortcomings, let's focus on continuing to encourage the ideas for success - no matter what someone else might judge or evaluate. Many will say without failure, success is impossible. I don't know if that's true, but I can attest to plenty of failure. Russell Wilson held on to the voices that were encouraging him and he dismissed those that told him he wasn't good enough, big enough, strong enough, or enough enough. Let's all take a moment today to first acknowledge that we are enough and can be anything that we want, and second, find someone else to lift up and encourage - really make it matter, touch them, look them in the eye and make sure you have their attention and lift them up. Be the voice they can hold on to next time someone tells them they are not enough.