(Yes, I’m bringing this feature back! You know you missed it…)
“‘I don’t know how you manage this, Mr. Holmes, but it seems to me that all the detectives of fact and of fancy would be children in your hands. That’s your line of life, sir, and you may take the word of a man who has seen something of the world.’
“And that recommendation, with the exaggerated estimate of my ability with which he prefaced it, was, if you will believe me, Watson, the very first thing which ever made me feel that a profession might be made out of what had up to that time been the merest hobby.”
–Sherlock Holmes, “The Gloria Scott,” The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.
I’m still on my Sherlock Holmes kick. Each night before bed, I read a mystery or two. It shouldn’t relax me, but it does. I let Holmes do all of the work. He never lets me down.
Holmes is recounting his first mystery, which happened when he was at university. It comes about that he doesn’t really solve the case at all, but he does find the key in which the solution is laid before him. In telling this tale, Holmes reveals this little gem about himself and about, indeed, the rest of us.
Holmes does his thing to the father of his school friend, that thing where he tells a person everything about himself due to clues that the normal person misses. The father is so shocked he nearly faints. Once recovered, he tells Holmes that this is what he should do with his life.
And young Holmes, who has never thought it possible, suddenly begins to believe he could.
We think of Holmes as being one of the most self-assured and confident character in existence. There is truth in that, as he knows what he can do and never doubts his skills. But as a young man, even he needed some guidance, some prodding, someone who believed in him. Someone to tell him, “This is what you are good at. Continue doing it.”
The power of a simple statement. The power of a phrase to define and encourage or destroy. It goes both ways. So be careful what you say. There are plenty of folks who have been told painful things, and they carry that with them for the rest of their lives.
Encourage people in what they do well. Tell them! It is likely that they do not know, and if they do, they will not mind hearing it again. The world – and our own minds – tell us over and over again what we do wrong. But the acknowledgment of talents and skills does wonders. Need proof? Tell someone that you believe in her.
Are there people who told you that they believed in you? If so, why not shoot them a thank you? Because those encouragers, the ones who are always telling others how beautiful they are, they need to be told the same thing.
Wouldn’t it be a lovely world if we told people that we see them and their gifts? And wouldn’t it be lovely if they told us the same in return?