February 28, 2010
Believe in Others


The young man sat somewhat astonished in his chair, tears beginning to well in his eyes.  He was barely able to muster a quiet, "Thank you for believing in me."

The scene came from Sunday's showing of "Undercover Boss," a television show where company CEOs go undercover to see what life is like working for their companies.  I tend to stay away from TV, but I caught about five minutes of this episode, including the conversation described above.  People want to be believed in; people need to be believed in.  

Another network aired the closing ceremonies of the Winter Olympics, with thousands of athletes who others believed in during their trials and tribulations toward greatness.  Not everyone in the athletes' lives believed at all times, of course, but these elite athletes share the same need as part of success as the young man who worked at White Castle and hoped that someday he could go to culinary school (he is now, thanks to the CEO having had the chance to know the young man).

In my almost quarter century working with alumni and donors in higher education, I have heard from scores of students that one of the most important aspects of receiving a scholarship is the statement that the donor's generosity is making:  I believe in you.

People need to know others believe in them.  Sometimes just one believer can turn things around.  The signs of support can be bold or sublime, ranging from the parents who trek 150 miles uphill both ways to take their kids to skate camp, to the simple pat on the back with a quiet, "I know you can do it."  People need to know that someone believes in their grand goals and their simple moments, too, whether it is a gold medal in the Olympics or the ability to come up with good ideas how to make a hamburger taste better.

Who do you believe in?  Do they know it?


Listen to Life is a  free newsletter about learning and getting more from life by paying attention to our own stories and the stories of others, based on the presentations, writings, photography and workshops by Dion McInnis (www.dionmcinnis.com).  Copyright 2010 Dion McInnis.  All rights reserved.

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