This week’s challenge (week #8) is to thank someone who noticed or encouraged a talent or ability. I’m struggling with this one. I think mainly because I don’t feel that I have some sort of exceptional talent or ability that could be noticed or encouraged. Then again, the challenge doesn’t say “exceptional” – it just says talent or ability.
So I did what I often do when I have a challenging question in mind. I took it with me on a run. When have I felt encouraged? When has someone pointed out an ability of mine and told me to do something with it? I got home with a few random fragments of ideas… the 10th grade English teacher who encouraged me to keep writing because I had good things to say. The business management professor who told me my analytic skills were strong. My first real boss who hired me just because he felt like I had the right qualities to get things done – and then he made up a job for me to do so. The freelancer that I worked with often who told me that if I ever wanted to go out on my own, I could put her out of business.
None of those rises to the top for me as a “big deal.” Maybe I’m putting too much weight on the question. After all, each of those minor nudges or comments put me on a path. Maybe this question is meant to help me recognize the seemingly minor interactions that changed the course of my life. That’s an interesting thought. Like my own personal butterfly effect.
And so I thank all of those people mentioned above: Mrs. Walker, Prof. Miller, Tim, Nancy. And I remind myself to be more liberal with those comments myself. When I see someone doing something well, I should tell them. After all, who knows when one small comment might inspire big change.
15 weeks, 15 letters, 15 minutes. To kick off 2015. Read about the gratitude challenge here.