Friday, June 02, 2006

Can you be successful if your family doesn't believe in you?

This is the question I want to pose. One of the things that is common among successful people is the unfailing belief in their ability and eventual success by their family. Not necessarily their parents and siblings, because if that isn't there, the support of spouse and children as cheerleaders fulfills the needed support in tough times. I just spent the day at a Get Motivated Seminar, listening to the likes of Steve Forbes, Suze Orman, Tom Hopkins, Rudy Guliani, Mike Shanahan, Colin Powell, and others. Each and every one has their own philosophy of success, their rules and guidelines, the principles they live by...and each of them had the support and belief of others to buoy them when life got tough.

When you are discouraged and aren't sure that you actually have what it takes, do you have a cheerleading squad behind you? Do you have your parents' unwaivering belief that you can do it? Does your husband or wife tell you you're doing great and you will be wonderful?

I think one of the cruelest things we can do for our husbands/wives or our children is to doubt that they can accomplish what they set out to do. That doubt seeps out. It is heard in the hesitant encouragement, in the backup plans, in the well-meant "if this doesn't work you can always..." And with those words my confidence falters.

When I doubt myself, I focus on the statements of a couple of friends. Their unwavering belief in me is expressed in statements like, "You're going to be GREAT at this." "You are perfectly suited for this." "Oh, you are going to help so many people." I wish there was a way to have those recordings play aloud as I walk through the office, or sit at my computer. In the way some people use motivational plaques or posters, I would have these audio clips play for me, reminding me that these people believe in me. I would play them when someone says "what are you going to do if this doesn't work out?" I would drown out their words with words of encouragement. I would play them when told I don't "look right" for the job. I would play them when the recording in my head says that I am not tall enough, not thin enough, not pretty enough, not well-dressed enough, not gregarious enough, not formal enough. I would erase all the negatives with the belief of my friends.

As I sit here wishing I had more of those positive audio clips from family, I wonder if I have provided enough of those for them. Have I told my husband often enough what a great job he is doing with the business and how proud I am of all he has accomplished? Have I told my daughter how incredibly proud I am of her and what an enormously talented person she is at whatever she puts her mind too, be it painting, school, or sales? Have I told my son how incredibly proud I am that he stuck it out and finished Job Corp, Army basic training, AIT and now his assignment in Iraq? Did I tell him often enough how much I believed he was capable of even when he didn't believe it himself. I hope so. And Alex, have I told him how I am certain that he will do well in engineering school? Have I told him what a fine mind he has? Have I given him the encouragement he needs to tough it out and to know that he has what it takes to be the percentage that finishes well?

My family certainly gives me enough bragging material. I hope I will make them proud. Scratch that. I intend to make them proud. I will stick it out in real estate and will become the success I know I can be. In the process, I will help many own their piece of the American Dream. I will take care of details, so that they can focus on their dreams. Oooo. I really like that. Let me take care of the details, so you can focus on your dreams.

Very few people, after all, look at a home as just the elements of it. They look at a home and see the spot where they can throw a ball to their son, just past the maple tree in the back yard. They see family movie nights in the great room. They picture themselves eating dinner together, reading in that secluded nook, or entertaining all their friends on that great deck. It is visions they see, not the bricks and mortar. And it is visions I need to keep in mind as I face discouragement or doubt. I need to envision the keys passed across the closing table. I need to picture the relief on the faces of those who simply had to sell or face financial ruin. I need to envision the children who will grow up in those rooms, gazing out those windows, eating in those kitchens, playing ball beneath those trees.

My friend, Jana, is one of the most encouraging people I know. "You're my hero." She says it all the time, and even though it is something of a habit, when she says it, I believe it. I know that she has a great belief in me. When I'm with her, or talk to her, I can only imagine myself doing well. Well, the meaning of encourage is to inspire with hope, courage or confidence. That is exactly what Jana does. Not just for me, but because she lives a life of bringing hope, courage and confidence to others. She really is my hero. What a gift.

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