Thursday, August 23, 2012

30 Days of Encouragement: Daring Greatly (Part 2 of 2)

The past two weeks have been fairly busy for me. I have been a parent/partner, worked at my job, led the largest volunteer event that I do each year, planned for (and survived) a trip to Central America, and sat with friends in need. Even in the midst of my busyness, I am reminded that there are larger, bigger issues out there. There is grief at the loss of a soulmate, heartbreak in a relationship ending, dispair at a family being torn apart. Like all of us, these moments intersect in what can only be described as Perfect Timing. I found myself this week needing to revisit a TED talk by BrenĂ© Brown... Listening to Shame. (Back in March, there was a three part series on You Are Enough, inspired by a different TED talk by this same researcher.)

As I watched this message once again, I was left with the same question - How do we inspire courage?
I have continued to receive feedback and responses to my 30 Days of Encouragement Project and it seems that the impact on others has been significant. I am left with the question - What does it take to really inspire someone?

I had breakfast with an alumnus this summer. He was moving out of town to begin the next chapter of his life and wanted to say ‘goodbye’. While we covered many subjects during our time together, we got around to reminiscing about his undergraduate fraternity experience. He had always been one of my favorites – I know, I know… No one is supposed to have favorites. But, this one… Well, let’s just say he NEVER took anything at face value. He was one that continually “Challenged The Process” (The Leadership Challenge). Both in his chapter and in the larger fraternity community, he was never afraid to ask the tough question.

He inspires me.

For those of you that know me and work with me, you may be surprised to learn that I do not enjoy being the one to challenge and present the other side. I would prefer to work in a land of “yes” rather than having to ask the difficult questions. Sometimes, my position at the University demands otherwise. But, I always truly enjoy when I encounter a student that is willing to critically examine something. This alumnus is one of those people. He balances professionalism with a fun-loving nature. He can read people well – and often knows just what to say in a situation. He also knows his limitations, and has even been know to ask for help. As our interaction progressed, I started to wonder about how he had experienced all that I describe. As the conversation moved forward, there was a sense of self-questioning, a sense of “am I good enough to start this next chapter of my life?”

As our conversation continued, I was draw back to the TED talk. In it, she talks about listening to the messages that we have inside of us that says, “Who do you think you are? You aren’t _________ enough.” Her challenge is to support one another with empathy and real relationships. 

So as we share our lives together, are we sharing in those moments of encouragement? Do we take that moment of "wow - you are really remarkable!" and share it with the person. Here is an example of encouragement and Daring Greatly that I received last year from a USD student that I met on a retreat. I keep it on my bulletin board - where I see it every single day that I am at work. It was a reminder that encouraging someone sometimes means putting yourself out there first.

As we wrap up summer, I challenge you to consider... How can you Dare Greatly? And, how can I encourage you?

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