I took an introduction to gymnastics class when I was a kid. They held it in the gymnasium at the elementary school I attended. We took turns jumping on the vault (my favorite), we tumbled on the floor mat, and we attempted a few maneuvers on the uneven bars. During my turn on the bars, one of the instructors said (as she was standing directly beside me), “She can’t do it.” The other instructor quickly reprimanded her, but the damage had been done. Her words hurt and discouraged me. Otherwise, it was a mostly forgettable day in the life of my youth. I am not sure if I ever returned to gymnastics, but I would have learned on my own I was not suited to it.
Although this memory has stayed with me, I have no hard feelings about it. The instructor was frustrated and blurted out the first thing that came into her head. Been there and done that. During a class at my church this past Sunday, I gained valuable insight from the upbeat guest speaker, Dr. Julie Bell, about correction. She said, “Tell them what to do, not what not to do.” Wow! How many times have I made this simple mistake with myself, with my children, and with my loved ones? Well-meaning advice and instruction/correction has focused on what not to do, creating a negative mindset.
I wonder how often I have made this mistake with my clients. My passion is helping others look and feel better. By finding ways to improve a client’s image, aligning their external and internal selves, their entire life experiences improvement. By avoiding the what not to dos, my clients will be more relaxed and open to trying new things, and the appointment will feel positive. Thank you, Dr. Julie, for this eye-opening moment. I will keep this in mind with all of my encounters.
“There is always a way to do what you’re doing better. Every day you have to improve your work and try to learn from everything.”—Sergio Rossi
Photo of me by Christina Childress.
Dallas, Texas has a bad reputation for tearing down its older buildings and building new ones rather than saving the historic structures and thus maintaining a semblance of the city’s history. I am no architect or structural engineer, but I imagine it is sometimes much easier to level something and start again. How about gossip? Do you find it easier to speak about the bad things than the good things? I just enjoyed a viewing of the Golden Globes last night with a dear friend, and we had a great time talking about the fashion hits and misses. Admittedly, it was more fun to talk about the misses than the hits. Why is that? Does it make us feel better about ourselves to see someone else struggling or to see someone making a mistake? We giggle to ourselves and pat ourselves on the back because we would surely never make such a mistake. Right?
Let’s drink a big glass of reality and remember no one is perfect (ourselves, included). We are all fighting a battle of one kind or another. So, here is another challenge for the New Year, on top of the one I already gave you in my previous post: choose to build up rather than tear down this year. Don’t get pulled into negative talk (i.e. gossip). It may seem innocuous to participate in an occasional “catty” conversation, but ultimately that kind of talk tears you down, as well as the person about whom you are speaking. Negativity has a way of creeping into your life quite innocently, and before you know it you are looking at everything from a negative viewpoint rather than a positive one.
We look at the people who have more than we have, and we assume they live a happier, more comfortable life. Those people may be the most unhappy people in our circle of acquaintances. My point is to build up everyone, even those who seem to not need it in our eyes as you may be surprised to learn they crave it the most. A simple compliment or word of gratitude is all you need to do. You may never learn the impact your act of kindness has on their life. That’s okay. That isn’t why you are doing it. The world has enough detractors and desperately needs more encouragers. Are you with me? Let’s build this year!