“I believe in you” are magic words. Use them with anyone you manage, anyone in your organization, and anyone in your family. Believing in people is magic because you communicate trust, empowerment, faith, and approval when you speak those words.
It’s been said that most people wear an invisible sign on themselves that says “please make me feel important”. One of the most common fears people experience is to feel insignificant, abandoned, and unimportant. Telling them that you believe in them speaks to a very basic need in all of us.
Now, what if you don’t really believe in them? Well, why not? Have they disappointed you regularly by being undependable? Do they have a reputation as not being trustworthy? Or, do you just generally not trust people?
The truth is that almost everyone disappoints us at some time. Nobody is 100% dependable. Believing in someone who is flawed is just believing in the future improved version of them.
In my coaching business, companies hire me to help people improve. These people are being asked by the company to change for the better. Which means they’re not 100%. Even when they WANT to change, making improvements are typically slow and small. Everyone involved; the client, me, the client’s manager all need to keep encouraging progress and keep believing. This takes lots of patience and faith.
Frankly, some companies don’t have this kind of patience. Some just terminate intolerable people and cast them aside. Others just allow the person to keep working there but never encourage them to improve. Some just ignore the problems. You’ve probably worked for all of the above. Don’t be like them. Do better.
The things to keep in mind are these:
- You can’t change other people
- People can change themselves
- It’s NOT easy
- Believing in them often gives them the energy to make those positive changes.
Here’s an assignment for you: Pick out someone at work or in your family or club or church that is generally disrespected and thought less of. Decide to look into their future and see that same person now prettier, smarter, kinder, and more giving than they are now. Imagine that person much improved for about a week then tell them the magic words-“I believe in you”. They might not believe you and get angry or they might appreciate it. In any case, keep believing in them.
In the wonderful musical, “My Fair Lady”, a British gentlemen makes a bet that he can change a lowly uneducated, flower girl enough to be accepted as a well-born lady at a ball. At the end of the show, she becomes a new person and the teacher gloats. In reality, it would be the lowly girl who worked hardest to change and it would have taken longer. But he did say several times “I believe in you”.
One last thought- Ask any successful person this question: Did someone in your past believe in you at time when you didn’t believe in yourself? Did somebody keep faith in you when you were much less mature than you are now?
My guess is they have.