Saturday, August 14, 2010

Power of an Encouraging Word

As I was driving out to Fort Worth last night, I caught a snip-it of an interview with Kenny Chesney, the country singer. He's got some new song out, "The Boys of Fall," and apparently the video is a real tear jerker. Or so I've heard. I have yet to see it, but if you'd like to take a gander, the video can be found here.

Anyway, the DJ asked Kenny how his football coach was so influential in his life. Kenny almost immediately said, "Because he believed in me when no one else did."

Two thoughts crossed my mind when I heard that. One, that the statement was really wonderful and that coach must be incredibly touched. The second, I had to wonder how this man could have only had one person believing in him. Sure, I'm willing to bet he had some family and buddies right there with him cheering him on the whole time, but at the same time I'm baffled. He believes only one person was there truly pulling for him? I found it a bit odd.

I was having lunch with a friend not but a few weeks ago and she was telling me about the happiness in her life. She relayed to me how her accomplishments today were thanks to a very dear dance teacher. I watched her face brighten as she spoke highly of this man and all the encouragement that he gave her during a time when she was unsure of herself. Those are valid grounds for a great mentor, but I myself couldn't think of just one person who has been that for me. She must have read the expression on my face because she explained this teacher was someone other than family and close friends who believed in her. After all, family loves you no matter what and those that know you best will back you 100% (I hope).

For me, I've felt like I've had an army of supporters behind me my whole life. Either that will read as a conceited statement or read as though I'm a very lucky girl. I happened to mean that as I am extremely lucky to have so many people believe in me, supporting me in this crazy business I want to submerge myself in. Heaven help me if I ever win a Tony because there would be a laundry list of teachers, mentors, family, friends, etc. to thank. Ain't no 30 second allotment would get me through a list of those folks.

Take my mother, for instance. Just yesterday she and I were shopping for foam for a large sandwich prop and as I was getting increasingly frustrated with the fruitless search, I blurted out, "Why didn't I become a doctor or a nurse or someone who's job did not entail this?!" There I stood, shaking the giant piece of foam at my mother, being as dramatic as a tired, shopped-out girl could be. Mom gently took the foam from my hand, laid it down while wrapping a loving arm around me. With a knowing look and an easy tone she said, "You're doing what you were meant to do."

Well, I don't know if creating sandwich props is what I'm meant to do, but geez Louise, a lady has got to have a lot of faith in me to help me search all over heck and half of Georgia looking for odd items like swords and treasure chests. Not only that, but she doesn't leave me in a store when I pick up a piece a fabric and start flitting about as if I can't be seen by the public. They see all and they definitely see me dancing around with my scarves.

Here's the thing, 90% of the time I know I'm doing what I should be doing. The other 10% is the lack of belief I have in myself. Pretty sure that's normal--most anyone is scared of the potential they have within themselves. It's not a pity plea, it's a statement of fact. We have doubts. Period.

The nagging feeling of doubt or the question of "what if" is an annoying itch in my mind I don't want to touch for fear that it'll spread to the rest of my thoughts. It bothers me greatly that with all this support around me I would even know what a doubt is. I think or at least I assume that when I do feel a lack of belief in what I'm doing, I question for certainty. In that, I'm hoping to find assurance that what I'm doing is right and "safe," so to speak. Yet here I sit with people in my life who know I'll be successful. They just know. My gosh, what a freeing sensation, like swinging from rope and dropping into a lake. They take that plunge, willing dropping because they know it's right. Except I'm the idiot hanging on for dear life yelling, "what if I get hurt?"

I want so badly to have 100% belief all the time, it sure would free up some headaches. I also have this undying need to show people what I can do, to prove that I am what I say. Equally so, I want people to show me what they can do, prove to me they are what they say. That's not always possible to do--sometimes you just have to go on faith. That right there is believing. Like the mother says in Miracle of 34th Street, "Faith is believing when common sense tells you not to."

On the other hand, I know that doubt has some redeeming qualities. It helps me be more aware, a bit more careful, and perhaps a better planner. In other words (can't EVEN believe I'm going to say this, but), doubt can be a good tool if you use it properly. Tell me this, how do these people JUST believe? How does one rid themselves of doubt to have blind faith in another person?

Last night I had dinner with Pyro Man and over our bowls of chips and salsa, he excitedly expressed his interest in starting a certain business. Immediately I started thinking through questions and wondering about certain possible problematic situations he might encounter. **SIDE NOTE: Please know, I'd support Pyro Man in anything he wanted to do--I think he can do anything he sets his mind to and I want him to be happy with whatever he does.** My way of showing "support" was by playing devil's advocate and somehow it struck me as the wrong reaction to have with this topic. No kidding. *Sigh* For the love, Julie.

I have absolutely faith (and a deal with a gentleman upstairs) that he won't set himself on fire when he goes out to shoot a firework show or fall out of a tree while he's hunting. He knows what he's doing, he's prepared for every situation, he's got all the tools and the head about him so why would starting this business be any different?

Well, with the exception of no actual flames threatening to blister his body or a 10 foot drop involved, there isn't any difference. I mentally wanted to make sure he had sure footing, the safety that I crave when I encounter new hurdles to jump. But it's not my hurdle, not my dream--it's his. So really, why do I need to question and come up with worrying thoughts? What he really needs right now is a little faith. And there, between bites of chicken tacos, I found myself taking the plunge and placing 100% backing belief in him just like what everyone else has been doing in me.

In an instance, I just let go of the rope of worry. I don't need to see business plans. I don't need to see a contract with legal jargon or a budget or see anything at all. One look in his eyes and it was plain to see the man has a dream, probably the same look I have when I talk about my dreams, too. Suddenly it became very apparent to me exactly how it is that people are able to believe. It's not blind belief either, I can tell you that--you have to see the person's face full of passion and excitement.

Perhaps Kenny Chesney and my friend really appreciated about that one person who believed in them was that they didn't question or worry about the road ahead. Instead, that mentor placed a true and honest belief in them without a single doubt. They offered a little faith to give them the extra push to make their dreams come true. That, I suppose, is what people need most.

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