I read a quote from John Maxwell yesterday and thought it distilled leadership down exquisitely. He said,
“If you look around, you’ll discover that there are people in your life who want to be fed – with encouragement, recognition, security, and hope. That process is called nurturing, and it’s a need of every human being. If you desire to become an influencer in others’ lives, start by nurturing them.”
Some people may look at that and call it manipulation – but it’s not, if you have the right intention.
We are all full of energy – both anabolic (healing, positive) and catabolic (harmful, negative). Many of us live more in the catabolic world of fight or flight, feeling like we have to fight for every good thing that happens to us. We have to fight to earn enough money to pay our bills, fight to stay off the addictive behaviors that bog us down, fight to keep our values, fight to take care of our families.
And we also live in an anabolic world where we can see the needs of others and help them. We can see opportunities where others may see problems, we can see synergy where others may see dissonance.
In order for us to succeed in this life we cannot do it all alone. People who live in the catabolic world feel all alone – “just let me do it because I can do it faster myself”, “why won’t anyone help me?”, “why do I always come out on the losing end of the stick?”
I say STOP! Stop looking inward and start looking outward. Stop feeling like it’s all up to you and see how you can help others. The more people you help, the more people who want to help you. Energy is reciprocal. Like attracts like. The more positive you are, the more positive people you attract. The more helpful you are, the more helpful people you attract. The more interesting you are, the more ideas you generate, the more (insert your desire here) … the more you attract those same kind of people.
What you focus on you will receive. If you focus on giving encouragement, recognition, security and hope, you’ll start seeing them everywhere – and you’ll start receiving them from others as well. Pretty soon you’ll be so full up that you can’t help but overflow them to others.
So, today look at the people around you – family, colleagues, grocery store clerk, whoever – see what their needs are, and feed them! Do they need an encouraging word on something they’re about to do? Do they need recognition for something they’ve just done? Do they need to feel secure? Do they need hope that better things are to come?
Here’s where the leadership comes in – you need to take the first step! If you feed others what they need, then they’ll give you influence. And once you have their permission to influence them, you can lead them.
This week, stop and really “see” at least 5 people. What do they need that a word of encouragement, recognition, security, or hope can help? And watch your influence and leadership grow!