There are two words that can change a mood, change a mind and change a heart. There are two words that can change a life. Do you know what they are?
According to Angela Maiers, educator academic, coach, researcher and writer, the words “you matter” have incredible power.
The messages those words send are threefold.
- You are noticed
- You are valued
- You are depended on
While much of Angela’s work has been in schools, working with classroom teachers, these are essential messages for all people in life. After all most of us are kids at heart – we’re just taller. Our core needs are the same. We all need to matter, and to know that we do.
You are a genius and the world needs your contribution.
~ Seth Godin
Try telling someone they matter to you
Have you noticed what happens when you tell someone how much they matter to you? When people are acknowledged for their contribution, they are often emotional, sometimes overwhelmed. Take farewell presentations – when appreciation and good things are shared publicly about the person leaving. Why wait until someone is going, to tell them how much they have mattered?
It doesn’t have to be hard. It takes being mindful to say/tell someone they matter. Something like:
- Here’s what I noticed (about you/something you did) …
- Here’s what I appreciate …
- Here’s what makes you special/important …
Some cynics among us may roll their eyes at this sort of suggestion. Unfortunately in life people acquire experiences that can lead them to be suspicious of such complimentary comments. This can give rise to a hidden, inner critic whose air time can be very damaging.
Facing the inner enemy
The inner critic can undermine someone’s confidence. It can be brought to life by observing someone’s judgement of us or of our approach to things. The inner critic is an inner critical voice, that is referred to by psychologists. It is described as a sort of subpersonality that judges and demeans a person.
In their article on Coaching Your Inner Critic, Dorie Clark and Susan Brady (2015) suggest three techniques for disarming your inner critic.
- Push pause – listen consciously to the inner dialogue and grow your own awareness of it at work
- Get compassionate – treat yourself and others with kindness and respect
- Be curious – about what you may not be seeing due to the inner critic’s influence and discover what you might be able to learn from a different way of looking at the situation
My suggestion is to rail against the critic(s). In a workplace where I managed a team, when we had team meetings I had a practice of asking each person what they would like to be acknowledged for. Typically they understated their achievements or had no suggestions. I would always have something to mention for each member. I was blown away when I learnt that later when they got a new manager, they asked if they could continue the practice!
It may seem like a small thing, but it counts. When you tell someone they matter to you, you will find that act matters to you. Maier sums it up thus:
There is nothing that gives you more courage, nothing that gives you more inspiration and there is nothing that will initiate big, important, audacious stuff than knowing that you can help other people know their significance.
~ Angela Maier
Do you know how much you matter?