Many years ago, when Richard Nixon was president, there was a U.S. senator who was receiving an award at the White House.
As per protocol, the senator’s wife ended up seated between Nixon and Dr. Henry Kissinger. When she got back home, the press wanted to interview her. One reporter asked, “How did you feel sitting between two of the most powerful men in the free world?”
She replied, “When I spoke with President Nixon, I thought he was the most interesting, nicest, intelligent, witty, individual in the room. But, when I spoke with Dr. Kissinger, I thought ‘I’ was the most interesting, nicest, intelligent, witty person in the room!” Kissinger had the remarkable ability to lift people and make people feel good about themselves.
A rich life is all about relationships with the people you meet and spend time with. Additionally, developing positive relationships is the best thing you can do to enhance your own self esteem, happiness, and health. In fact, every part of our personality is tied up in our relationships with others.
The best way you can create happiness within yourself is to engage in activities of personal growth and making others happy. However, to like somebody enough to make them feel good about themselves, you have to sincerely feel good about yourself first. Studies show that a person cannot like anyone else more than they like themselves.
And here’s the magical secret: By making others feel important, you actually end up feeling better about yourself at the same time.
So how do you do this?
- Listen. People will pay attention to what they value and ignore what they do not. By just listening to people you are actually showing they are important to you. Give that person your undivided attention.
- Praise People. Let people around you know how much you appreciate them. In fact, just by saying “thank you, you are wonderful” whenever possible wins people over.
- Look for the Good in Everyone. Many view others and their actions with suspicion. We now realize that the healthiest of people look for the good in every situation or person they encounter. Those who look for the good will find good. Those who look for bad will find the bad.
- Stop being Critical. By eliminating destructive criticism from your regular communication you will automatically feel better about yourself. In fact, when you criticize others you actually create chemicals in your brain that brings you down.
My friend and best-selling author Brian Tracy, who is one of the kindest people I know, says: “The more you give of yourself without expectation of return, the more that will come back to you in the most unexpected way.”
It would certainly be a brutish world if you could only build yourself up by putting others down. Luckily, we know it works exactly the opposite way.
My suggestion for managers this week: Pick just one person in your staff and tell them one thing that you really appreciate about them. You might even want to practice this at home – and see how good you feel!
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