I feel the urge to share some of the things and people I believe in today and I’ll tell you why. I was standing in line speaking with someone yesterday when a young woman walked by chatting with a co-worker and we both overheard her speaking with a lot of passion and hope for some client of hers. The person I was talking to rolled their eyes as they passed and out of the side of their mouth quietly said, “Ugh, give her a few years to grow up and she’ll soon change her tune”.
Well the cynicism of those words and the mocking tone in which they were uttered made me feel sad for the person who spoke them rather than the person they were speaking about. I hope I never get to the point where I stop believing in the people I’m working with, and lose hope in them. And that chance comment overheard while standing in a checkout line had me thinking yesterday and again this morning about people and things I believe in.
I certainly believe in the power people have to change their lives; the desire to change direction and the courage to move forward. People around me are constantly looking at new jobs, careers, going back to school, re-training and re-tooling their skills and pursuing their interests. It’s a privilege to be a small part in that huge change that’s going on in their lives.
I’ve got to believe in my co-workers abilities, trusting in them to do their work with enthusiasm and professionalism, to show up regularly and back me up when I’m in some kind of need. I work with people I’ve come to respect and have confidence in their capacity to deliver as we work with the same clientele and the message we all bring has to be consistent.
I believe in the sincerity of the people I’ve never met who email me for help and advice with some job search issue, or request for my opinion with a problem in their work-related life. I’ve never met nor do I expect to meet some of these people in person, but I must believe in the sincerity of their requests and try to empathize with their situation in order to offer any meaningful suggestion for resolution. If someone out there is in need and asks for my thoughts, what a deep honour it is to feel that in some very small way I might have words of comfort and support.
I believe in the big guy. Last week I donned the red and white outfit myself and took on the guise of Santa himself for my co-workers fun day with his young dads group and their children. What a joy and responsibility which I truly appreciated. As I drove to and from the venue, I waved at other motorists and pedestrians, smiled and winked at kids in cars, brought smiles and laughter to the faces of adults who seconds before seeing me were sour and serious. Oh yeah, I believe in Santa and his power to bring joy into the hearts of others.
I have to believe in you my colleagues who work in similar roles as I do in other organizations, in other cities, in other countries. If we share new ideas, our experiences, if we get in discussions with each other and support each other, can’t we by associating better our own skills and abilities? I have to believe that like me, you yourself strive to work with passion and commitment in your own job. Ours is a job that can’t be faked for long without becoming obvious to others that it’s time we moved on. So I believe in you.
I have to believe in the most fantastic of stories I hear on a daily basis from the mouths of the clients whom I serve. While time will often reveal to me that a client lied or embellished the truth in order to get me to release a cheque for example, I’ve got to believe in every single fantastic story because not to believe is the poorer option. If a client experiences my trust in something as mundane to me as getting a cheque to pay rent and buy food, I’ve got to realize that in believing in them, I may have helped them avert disaster and maybe down the road they’ll trust me with the truth and I’ll truly be better able to help them with bigger issues. Sure I’ll get burned every now and then; I like my chances.
I’ve got to believe in my Supervisor at work; that she has my best interests at heart and my well-being and that in doing so, she puts me in the best chance to succeed with my clients. I’ve never worked with such a wonderful person, and I truly appreciate her daily and tell her so. One day she and I will part which is natural and I don’t want to wait until one of us is having that goodbye luncheon before I tell her how I feel. She may need to hear those words now.
I’ve got both a colleague and a relative who are both going through the experience of being left by their spouses for another woman. I’ve got to believe that both are beautiful people deserving of support and someone in their lives that they can fully trust and feel appreciated by. That guy might come along for them but neither are really at the point where that’s an issue – yet. They’ll both get there in their own time. Both are stronger than they know and will ride this out and that’s what I believe.
I find that believing in other people, and their capacity to do good works for me. From time to time it is only natural that I find myself saddened but I’ll gladly take those few times. You see I’ve run into co-workers over the years that don’t believe in their clients, that everybody is scamming some system, that no one should be trusted, that people somehow have to earn their trust and respect. Who made them so almighty that they are on some pinnacle that others must bow down to with respect just upon meeting them for the first time?
Those individuals who have grown cynical and distrustful I find have had personal experiences in their past where they have been let down and deceived too often. To them I say that you can never go wrong in giving others the benefit of the doubt and believing in others who may have far too many people in their own lives who have given up on them. Many of the people, usually women, I speak with have been told for years by their very own parents, teachers and people of influence that they will never amount to anything. So why should I expect that in a few short meetings, I’m going to undo years and years of psychological abuse? But that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t start laying some seeds for giving someone some hope that here is one person I might be able to trust.
Catch yourself if you can in your meetings this day with others and ask yourself if perhaps you might want to tell somebody you believe in them and their ability to move forward. You have an amazing responsibility and opportunity to give hope to others, to inspire, to lead by example, and to act with compassion, care and empathy.
And all you have to do is believe.