Do you remember any defining moments when someone believed in you? Here’s one that popped up in my mind this morning. As a child, I could swim fairly well but was terrified of the deep end. There was something about jumping in and sinking, before coming up, that scared the life out of me. So in school swimming lessons, when our new teacher asked who could swim and who could not, I picked up the floats and chose to be with the beginners in the shallow end, while the others moved athletically towards the end where the pool floor sloped down to grey depths. For the next few weeks, I did a really good job, or so I thought, of fooling our teacher. That is till one day, she stopped me and asked me to stay back while the others went to the locker rooms. She took me to the end that said 7ft. And said “Jump and swim to the other end. I know you can do it”. I thanked God for a wonderful life and jumped. That moment was no epiphany, neither did I emerge an olympic champion and swimming still isn’t my favourite sport. I don’t even remember the teacher’s name or face. But I remember the moment and the faith she showed (though at that time, it felt like she literally pushed me in the deep end). This moment comes up for me many times when I catch myself holding back.
It strikes me that we touch many lives, sometimes consciously, sometimes unawares. We are friend, family, parent, child, teacher, student, manager, colleague. We form part of someone’s day. In all the interactions, it’s often easier to take the path of least resistance; gloss over another’s feelings; see them as less than they are capable of and be less empathetic and compassionate than we are really capable of.
Another ‘show of faith’ incident comes from adult life- in our coach training program. Our facilitators wrote mails addressing us as “Dear Coaches” from day one. Though we were yet to be assessed and certified, they believed in us 100%, even before we had begun to believe in ourselves. In fact, one of the reasons I fell in love with coaching is because it talks about viewing the person in front of you as “creative, resourceful and whole” How beautiful is that? Is that not a powerful way of viewing anyone? Your child, your partner, your reportee at work, the person across the road?
How about starting with the person in the mirror? As we believe in ourselves and have faith in our own possibilities, we believe better in others. As a friend and spiritual teacher Nithya Shanti says, ‘Life is a mirror. What we give is what we get and what we see is what we are”. What do you choose to see today? Who will you believe in? Whose potential will you be dazzled by?