I Need Some Back-up: The Power of Someone Believing in You

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Last week, I took on a new task, professionally.

I’m usually a confident person, work-wise. I can ask for things, I can say “no” and be firm. But with this new task, I was a little out-of-my-depth. Without even realizing it, I’d been downplaying it – thinking of it as a trivial thing.

To do the work, I have to interview some people. The first person I interviewed was great, so knowledgable, accomplished and friendly. At the end of the interview, he made some suggestions for the task – directions I could go in – and I was shocked. Then excited, but shocked.

Because I hadn’t thought to aim so high: I hadn’t thought to approach the task with such gusto and professionalism.

When he spoke, too – he wasn’t speaking to me like an inspirational speaker or anything. He spoke to me like an equal, like: “Well, of course this is the direction you’ll want to go in.”

This gave me such confidence, his assumption that I was on his level, at least for ¬†executing this task. It also gave me pause – why hadn’t I wanted to reach so high? There was no external reason for me not to.

Having someone believe in you like that – it’s so powerful. Particularly when you’re starting out or trying new things, and you’re feeling like maybe, just maybe, the best you’re going to do is a mediocre job. Having someone believe that you can do it – that you can do something really cool or interesting – it can be that extra push you need.

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