The measure of a life is not what that life accomplishes but rather the impact that life has on others.
When I think of people who made the biggest impact in my life, it was not their expertise or accomplishments that provided me with the direction, guidance and reassurance I needed to accomplish my goals. It was their sincere belief in me. They let me know through their words and actions that I mattered.
The people in your life want that same validation. In fact, every single person you will ever meet shares this common desire. They want to know they matter.
Mattering a universal human need. First, you need to fully accept that you matter, and then its incumbent on you to pass this message along. Would the people in your life can answer, “yes” to the following questions:
- Do you see me?
- Do you hear me?
- Do you care about me?
- Do I matter to you?
Here are The 12 Important things to do now to ensure a “yes” every time you encounter or interact with someone significant or yet-to-be significant in your life.
1. Begin and End your sentences with “YOU”
- I believe in you
- I hear you
- I understand you
- You were awesome
- You rocked it
- You amaze me
Imagine where these conversations will take you?
2. Acknowledge Everyone
When you acknowledge someone, you recognize their value and importance. How about starting the day with a “Good Morning” email or Tweet? Or smiling at each and every co-workers as you pass by them by on way to the office? Or reaching out to a new acquaintance you see in a crowd or bump into in the Blogosphere? Go out of your way to acknowledge people. Make an effort to “see them”. Like the Na’vi in the movie Avatar, who greeted one another with the phrase “I see you” as a belief and acknowledgment there is something marvelous in everyone you meet.
3. Listen With Interest
There is a difference between simply listening to people and listening with interest. This kind of listening requires your ears and heart. Listening with deep interest signifies that you really care about what someone is saying in contrast to simply listening because it is the nice thing to do. If you question whether people can tell the difference, DON’T. They can, and it matters.
4. Ask Mattering not Matter-of-Fact Questions
Question are a window into our minds and intentions. We show people how much they matter by the questions we ask. How important do these questions make you feel?
- What rocked your world today?
- Who’s world did YOU rock today?
- How can I make your day?
- What can I do to make it better?
5. Be Present
The ultimate present you can give another is your PRESENCE. How many times have you been in a conversation with someone, and you know their mind is in another place? How many times have you felt “un-noticed” when someone was looking right at you? You do not have to be available for everyone in every moment … but when you have someones time and attention; honor it with your presence. Really make that person the center of your attention and experience, even if only for a few minutes.
It does wonders in the mattering department!
6. Encourage and Reassure Confidence
If you’ve had the pleasure of teaching a classroom full of young children, you know how much encouragement matters. Children ask out loud, “Is this ok? Did I do it right? Do you like what I did? The need the reassurance that we are headed in the right direction, does not stop when you leave grade school. When you encourage others, you not only communicate that you care and they matter; you add fuel to their motivational fire. And perhaps more than anything else, you give them hope and inspiration. If you need a model of how this works, check out this guy.
7. Deliver Happiness (HT to Zappos)
Cynicism sucks. It sucks the life out of work, business, and people.
Life and work is hard enough and it is easy to get into situations that tear us down. People want and need to be inspired. When people are inspired, they are lifted above these kinds of circumstances and allowed to see the upside of what they can achieve or become. If you can be the one who inspires them, by encouragement or modeling, you’ve helped them and you matter!
8. Talk About Others
No one likes the person in the family, at work, or at the party who only talks about themselves, their interests, their accomplishments and their importance, right?
You become far more interesting and important when you talk about the exciting things other people are doing, trying, creating, writing, and sharing. Doing so gives you the opportunity to make a lot of new friends and establish yourself as someone who is always learning and growing from others. Now, that’s an accomplishment worth talking about.
9. Offer Hope
At every moment of the day, we are either making the world a better place or making it worse. Our thoughts spread out and become contagious, either positively infecting others or unleashing a plague of negativity, doubt and fear. We have the power to help lift someone up or to bring them down. How we interact with those we meet may be the catalyst that sets someone into an emotional tailspin or the spark that provides them with encouragement and HOPE for a better day… or maybe even a better life.
10. Sweat the Small Stuff
Today I heard from a friend. It was a simple text message asking how I was doing followed by a :-). It mattered.
It doesn’t take much to make someone’s day. It could be a smile, wink, or tweet. It could be an email of praise or a pat on the back for encouragement. Or, a call to say, “hi – how ya doin’, you were on my mind. Almost always, it’s something small that makes a big difference. So, do sweat the small stuff.
11. Tell the people in your life how you feel about them
If it doesn’t come natural to you, all the more reason to do it more often. It will begin to feel natural soon. Of course, “You matter” is what everyone wants to hear, but other phrases work just as well: “I’m happy to see you. You mean so much to me. You’re contribution to the team is immeasurable. I so appreciate you.” The language of mattering is universal; no translation necessary. Tell people and tell them often how much they matter!
Mattering is a choice. Give yourself that option everyday. It doesn’t matter how you do it- it only matters that you do it. You can say it, write it, tweet it, or deliver the message in person. Make the choice everyday to tell, offer, thank, encourage, inspire, and let others know you notice and believe in them. It could be and often will be the most powerful thing you do all day. Is mattering on your TO DO list?
I’ll leave you with this final thought and challenge.
- Can you imagine what kind of world we can create by each of us knowing we matter, believing in ourselves and supporting one another?
- Can you imagine how actions you take today, could make a difference in some one’s life tomorrow? And that ripple would last for generations?
Four years ago, I imagined a classroom where passion driven work was the norm; one in which students were invited and expected to experiment with ideas, discover possibilities, and make epic things happen.
This dream is now a reality. We now have proof that when we create a time and space for our students to strive audaciously and connect and collaborate with others, their genius is liberated, and learning, lives and worlds change.
Liberating Genius in the Classroom is a free, day-by-day lesson plan for the first 20 days of implementing genius hour. We will soon also offer a student “Genius Notebook” so students can record their reflections on the lessons and easily share them with each other and you.
To access the e-book:
- Implementing Genius Hour needs to be custom for your class, so it is offered in Microsoft OneNote.
- OneNote offers a rich, highly interactive and easy to edit experience, so you can make this e-book your own!
- OneNote is free, easy to access and works seamlessly across all platforms, including Macs, Chromebooks and Windows.
- You’ll need a Microsoft account to access Liberating Genius so that you can access the notebook on OneNote anywhere, from any device.
Now, go get it!
- If you don’t have a Microsoft account, sign up for a free account here.
- Once you’ve signed up, or if you already have a Microsoft account, then click here to download your Liberating Genius Notebook into your account.
- Once you’ve downloaded it, you can access Liberating Genius through your browser via OneNote online, or by downloading the free OneNote app. The app provides a much more robust experience.
- Also, we urge you to LIKE Choose2Matter on Facebook or follow on Twitter to learn of updates.