Only A Few Words
What does it take to help a person move to better performance, or to change a behavior? In a lot of cases it doesn’t take as much as you may at first think.
Love to Learn
There are a number of people who love to learn, who would love to find out how to do something but have never had the guidance and, therefore, have little or no confidence to try and do it on their own.
I had the opportunity over the years to help and to encourage a wide number of people including a lot of my own colleagues as well as those who were caught in the justice system on the wrong side of the fence.
Recently, though, I have been able to help a young man become confident in a different way.
One of my hobbies, over the years, is to repair and renovate a number of houses. Some of these have been those belonging to friend and family, and some have been my own since I have moved quite frequently.
With these skills, I have had a wonderful time always enjoying working with my hands and able to see and use the results of my efforts.
The young man, I referred to, was recently married and decided to buy an older home as their first investment. There wasn’t much really wrong with the house that elbow grease and tender loving care could not repair.
In fact, from my previous experiences renovating, this was a cakewalk – in other words, a very easy project to take on.
However, to this young man, it appeared to be a huge mountain that he had been asked to climb without the aid of hiking or climbing boots.
The truth is that he had never been taught to do much of anything around the house because his father had never done more than use the end of a flat screwdriver. So, he was unable to even decide how to start the most basic of renovations including repainting a wall.
So, I was asked to help him. At first, I didn’t really know if he new anything but not wanting to demean him or insult him, I chose to tackle a project and simply asked him to assist me. It didn’t take long to find out what he didn’t know.
So, I proceeded to describe what I was going to do, why I would do it, and the tools and process that I would need before I began. He was a fast learner, eager to understand and learn whatever he could.
I immediately noticed a hesitation to do anything I gave him to do even though I started off by doing it myself so he could visually see what the technique or how the tool was used properly.
As he started to engage in the project at hand, I calmly mentioned how to correct what he was doing wrong and kept it low keyed and friendly. It was truly amazing to see him respond – less hesitation and with greater confidence.
Over the next few months, we tackled project after project with more and more use of tools, with more and more encouragement, and with giving him the lead and me acting as his helper.
Encouraging Can Do More
All it takes is a few words of encouragement – no criticism, only helpful redirection or suggestions. It never takes much if you really care about people, their feelings and armed with the knowledge that we all started somewhere – we were never born masters of anything.