I recently talked to my friend Ben. When talking about his 3-year-old son, Ben said, “He’s everything to me.”
I have great news Ben: you are everything to your son as well.
When asked, “Who is the most important and influential role model whom you have ever met?” the number one answer is “a parent.” For people under 30 years old, that answer is given more often than a business leader, religious/community leader, political leader, celebrity, and entertainer… combined!
But what I find most interesting is the second most popular group—teacher or coach. Think about that. The most influential people in our lives are parents and teachers and coaches. When we get older, it might be a boss where we work. Do you see the pattern? The most important influencers in our entire lives are just normal people! People like you and me. You are important!
You really are more important than you know. You matter!
If you are like me, you’ve battled insecurity and feeling like a poser. You get discouraged, lonely or depressed—and you’re quickly tempted to feel very insignificant. You might feel that you just want to love someone and to be loved in return. You believe you are the only person feeling that way. That’s not true… and I can prove it.
I had the privilege of leading an executive training for some very bright, very successful business leaders. We talked about helping employees who were feeling insignificant and sensing that they really didn’t matter. I had these leaders take a risk with me. I invited every leader present to close his or her eyes, then I said, “I’d like to do a quick poll: If you have ever felt unimportant, insignificant, and like no one noticed, please raise your hand.” Then I said, “Open your eyes!”
Every hand was raised. That’s right: every single one. And each of them thought they were part of a small minority who had lifted their hands.
When you are tempted to feel that you don’t matter, please remember, that is a lie! You do matter and you are important. There are a many reasons that is true, but let me give you three:
- You have the capacity to love (or care deeply) for others, and people need that so desperately! The best leaders care deeply for those they serve.
- You have potential to be joyful and to enjoy a life that is full and meaningful. Discouragement is usually temporary. If not, seek help. But when you have recovered, you bring purpose and joy to those around you.
- You can be forgiven and you can be a forgiver. Even Harvard Business Review recognizes the importance of forgiveness in our lives. Helping others in this area is one of the greatest gifts you could give them.
THE BOTTOM LINE. As an insecure kid from a single parent family (and that parent divorced four times), I felt insignificant and helpless. But a neighbor lady was nice to me. I drew her a picture at school and she told me “it is so beautiful” and “how much she loved it.” It meant the world to me, so I drew her many more. Over a decade later I saw the picture—it was terrible. But not to her, she saw it through eyes of love. Go find beauty in and encourage someone who needs to hear it. See… you are important!