Recently during a meeting I attended, a senior leader discussed what it meant to her to have someone believe that she could do great things and take a chance on her earlier in her career. She expanded on her own experience to discuss the power of influence that we possess over others.
This clip from “The Pursuit of Happyness” demonstrates that the influence people have on our dreams and life goals can sometimes be negative. Here, the main character, Chris Gardner (played by Will Smith), struggles to teach his son Christopher the importance of following your dreams and protecting your aspirations from those who don’t support you.
Chris wants to support his son, but as the beginning of this clips shows, there might be times when even he falls short. Therefore, Chris resolves to instill an internal drive in his son that will help him stay motivated in case Christopher faces a lack of support in the future. In doing this, Chris essentially becomes that special person for Christopher by encouraging him and letting him know that he can achieve anything.
Likewise, many of us have had a pivotal person in our careers who believed in us and thought that we could be successful. About 10 years ago, I was fortunate enough to work with a person who quickly became a mentor. This person believed in me even when I didn’t believe in myself. We all experience self-doubt, but the hope is that we have reinforcement from people who believe in us.
Further, another mentor of mine taught me that we should never let a team member fail. Be sure that you are supporting your peers, team, family, and friends to help ensure that they achieve their goals and dreams.
So as you kick off what will probably be a hectic week, ask yourself: Who believed in you and made you believe in yourself? Maybe you could take a moment and thank that person for his or her support.
Then, most importantly, think about the ways in which you can pay it forward. Is there someone in your life who might be afraid to take the next step? Chances are there is. Take the time to be a mentor and a source of reassurance to help that person persevere in the pursuit of great things.