Ordinary Opportunity: Speak life

Originally printed in the pages of Simply Family Magazine’s March 2017 issue. Never miss an issue, check out SFM’s digital editions, here

written by Jamie Beeson

featured photo by Beth Beeson

It could’ve been called an ordinary day for me, but it certainly wasn’t ordinary...for her. She came into my office 75 pounds overweight, quiet and insecure, guarded with a wounded spirit. “I need to lose weight,” she said. Like every routine client interview, I proceeded to ask a lot of questions. By the end of the conversation, she revealed that her husband said he would leave her as a single mom if she didn’t lose weight. He was, “No longer attracted” to her. Heartbreaking.

We began working together immediately. She was an A+ student in my book, a dream client. What I suggested, she would do. I plugged her into a group of women that I trained. I knew the camaraderie would be important for her. At one of our routine training sessions, I had her on one machine. Each girl was set up to do something different in a circuit. I approached her and asked what she thought she was capable of doing on that machine. She gave me an estimate of how much weight and how many reps. I said to her, “I believe you can do so much more. I want you to prove it to yourself.” She began the work and it was challenging. I could see the struggle in her face and the shake of resistance in her body. I looked into her eyes and repeated, “I believe you can.” She pushed through the last few reps with tears in her eyes. She finished with a heaving sigh and as a tear rolled down her cheek, with a dropped chin of exhaustion, she said, “I did it!” under her breath.

After 6 months, my client lost the weight she set out to lose. What she shared with me impacted me so deeply. What she lost was great, but what she gained was invaluable. She referenced the workout where I communicated belief in her and in that moment, there was a massive turning point…she began to believe in herself. She had always wanted to run a marathon and go into the Police Academy. She gave up those aspirations after gaining so much weight with her baby. Her spirit was knocked down, she was deflated. She announced to our training group that day that her new goal was to train for a marathon and enter the Police Academy. Even more touching, she wanted her daughter to know that she was loved, valued, and capable by watching her example. What seemed like an ordinary practice on an ordinary day changed this young woman’s life and the life of her daughter. What an immense privilege we have.

We are all given opportunities every single day to speak life and belief into someone who needs it. What might seem like an ordinary compliment on an ordinary day during your ordinary routine might lead to someone’s extraordinary life change. Have you considered the power you have been given simply by expressing belief or showing kindness to those put in your path on a daily basis? Take this challenge with me. Let’s take every ordinary opportunity to make someone’s day (or life) extraordinary.

March CHANGE Challenge

Week 1:  Start at home. Start your day finding a way to speak life into your family members or roommates. What could you say that would send them into their day feeling more confident, loved, valued, respected, or appreciated? Speak belief into your son who has a test he’s going to take, express how you admire your spouse’s ability to lead, or simply tell someone they look awesome. This week, start the day by speaking life in your home.

Week 2:  If you think it, say it. No, not everything, but why hold back the good things you think about people? I used to hold those things back because I was worried it would sound weird or it wouldn’t be received well. That’s just a fear of rejection. Building up others is not about me. I made a deal with myself that whenever I thought something, I’d say it. If the lady in front of me is rockin’ her outfit, she’s going to hear it! If a parent in a restaurant displays amazing patience, they’ll hear that too. This week, if you think it, say it.

Week 3:  Affirm the behaviors you want to see more of. This is a principle that is so beautifully used in your relationships of influence. Whether it’s with your kids, your team, or your employees, it works the same. When you see a behavior you’d like to see more of, call it out. Show them you notice by expressing it, and affirm their ability to continue in that skill. If your child picks up their toys without being asked, be sure to tell them how you noticed they were being so responsible and helpful. Affirm their ability to take care of their things and contribute to the family. This week, speak words of affirmation and belief into the people you have the opportunity to influence.

Week 4:  Say “thank you” and get specific. Take every opportunity to show appreciation. If someone holds the door, say “thank you” AND tell him or her how it was so helpful, or that you appreciate young men learning to be gentlemen. When your older child offers to help their sibling, thank them and then tell them how it shows the kindness and love in their heart both for you and their sibling. Don’t stop at “thank you.” Tell them why they are appreciated. This week, express your gratitude and appreciation for the people in your life.

about the author...Jamie, wife of her high school sweetheart and mom of 4 boys, has been in the fitness industry for 18 years. "Fuel the body, mobilize the soul" is her mission. Connect with Jamie on Facebook or at www.workoutplanz.com.