Everybody wants to be somebody. The thing you have to do is help them build confidence in their ability to succeed. – George Foreman
As a nonprofit agency, we are in the business of helping others recognize their strengths and find the most effective tools for every individual to overcome barriers to economic well-being.
Our family of agencies all have in common the commitment to help those we serve through hands-on, one-on-one connection and through advocacy and influence of policy and leadership. Our goal is to provide leadership—as a model nonprofit agency, as leaders of our organization, as service providers, and as mentors to help guide others to their greatest potential.
Common among our work—as providers, advocates, influencers, and mentors is the call to inspire confidence. So many people come to us with the belief that they are not capable of accomplishing their goals or dreams. We offer them the skills, tools, opportunities, resources, and connections to help propel them forward. But we can’t give them what they must find in themselves. We can’t give them confidence. But we can do the next best thing. We can inspire confidence.
There isn’t one among us who hasn’t feel unsure at some point in our lives. Throughout my life, I’ve discovered common elements that have given me confidence or that have helped me help others feel more sure of themselves and willing to take the next step.
The first element is quite simply: care. And while most of us in the nonprofit world enter this field because we care deeply about the mission and the work and each individual we serve, sometimes it doesn’t always show. We can get bogged down with our day-to-day work and the sheer numbers of people we are seeing and the paperwork and the follow up that we can forget to show our care. But this is a critical piece of inspiring confidence. We show those with whom we interact that they are worthy of our care, that they are equals, and that we are partners in solving whatever issues are present for them.
Closely linked and clearly essential is connection. This means finding something in common, relating, and acknowledging that connection. Pursuing connection makes the work more meaningful for us and it inspires confidence in others. When one feels connected to another, when she or he feels that someone else will remember us and is rooting for us, we want to do our best and we are propelled to action. And, of course, action is a building block of confidence.
Caring and connection are both foundational elements to inspiring confidence. But of course, the tangibles, like skill-building and competence are also key. Clearly, when one has learned—and tested—a skill—whether it be a work-related or a social skill—there is more confidence. Competence is closely related to confidence.
In addition, calling out individuals’ strengths is another building block to confidence. When we ask people whom we serve about their greatest strengths, often it is the first time they are considering the question. And, often people don’t consider the things that come easily to them as strengths. It is our job to help bring those strengths to light.
While caring and connection and competence and calling out strengths seem like very basic blocks, they need to be intentional actions that we take every day—with our teams, with those we serve, and even with our families. These intangible pieces, while immeasurable, are the “secret sauce” to helping propel others in reaching their potential.
As always, I welcome your thoughts