Tim Elmore’s Habitudes series has quickly become a go-to resource for many organizations, including professional sports and NCAA teams. Our next eight blogs will spotlight lessons from this series. Our first two blogs will be from his Self-Leadership: The Art of Leading Yourself book and our next two blogs are from his For Personal Influence: The Art of Connecting with Others book.
Have you ever been in or up close to a hot air balloon? The balloon rises as the burners release an extreme burst of fuel. The pilot can’t just rely on the one burst to remain in the air. The balloon needs to be constantly filled or it will fall. Elmore believes people are similar…people need to be consistently encouraged if they are going to reach their potential.
Elmore uses an example from the Korean War to further illustrate his point. The depression, suicide, and death rate of American Prisoners of War (POW) were alarmingly high even though the POWs conditions weren’t especially cruel. Elmore explains that the North Koreans used the fact that humans need encouragement to their advantage. They withheld positive letters from home, and only allowed negative news to reach the POWs. They kept them from encouraging each other and even rewarded them for snitching on each other, Elmore emphasizes that these individuals were refrained from receiving the necessary emotional fuel that we all need to thrive.
Often, we get so busy with our own lives and responsibilities that we forget the importance of filling others’ balloons. We assume that we have encouraged them enough or they should just know the positive things we think about them. The reality is, though, that we need encouragement from others on a consistent basis. This doesn’t mean we need “fake” praise or over the top compliments. It simply means we need to lifts others up, particularly in times of stress or adversity. Elmore suggests that the best encouragement comes in the form of sincere, specific, personal and public affirmations.
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