How many times a day do you receive an authentic word of affirmation? Most of you would probably reply somewhere between 0-5 times a day if you live or work in a healthy family or organisation. However for most people the answer is none.
We live in a world that is starved of affirmation. Not many of us receive or give encouraging words and if we do rarely does one actually penetrate below the surface and touch another’s heart. Affirmation is a skill that is seldom practiced or taught as we are growing up, Yet words are a powerful tool in helping people grow and reach their potential.
So what if we became intentional and skilful in giving authentic affirmation. What if began to share with our children, families and friends, people in our community and workplaces what affirmation looks like. What if we became the catalyst, the change agents in creating a world where giving and receiving acknowledgment become the new normal.
You can create the world you want simple by using words.
Did you know there are 3 levels that you can affirm someone and that the impact of these words transcends to the inner core of someone’s being?
1. Celebrating progress
Affirming what the person has done or accomplished so far. Its celebrating progress focusing on the persons effort and achievements. This type of affirmation focuses on the past and affirms at a “doing level”. Most affirmation given or received by people sit at this level. When considering this level of affirmation
- Ask yourself what has this person accomplished that should be celebrated?
- What specific progress has been made since we worked together?
- How am I affirming the small steps forward that this person is taking?
- How can I affirm their efforts?
2. Expressing belief
Expressing belief is verbalizing what you believe about the person’s potential . Its having confidence in what the person will do in the future. This affirmation focuses on the future/aspiration level.
- What would I like to affirm about this persons commitment or effort?
- What do I believe about this persons future considering what I’ve seen so far?
- What skills, habits, abilities does this person have that I see leading to future success?
- What is this person truly capable of in life?
- What potential is present here?
- What future do I see for this person that he or she may not have the confidence to see in him or herself?
- How can I believe in this person where he or she most needs to be believed in?
3. Naming identity
Naming identity calls out the true inner self. It affirms your character and who you are. It positively articulates who this person is in their core being. Its focuses in on the “being level”
- What character qualities do I admire in this person?
- What is the true value of the individual?
- What inner greatness incredible potential have I seen in him/her?
- What can I name of this persons call or destiny?
- At your best who you are is …..
- What hidden treasure is inside this person that maybe others don’t see?
The more we move through levels 1 to 3 when affirming others, the deeper the impact and greater the words are felt by a human being. The same is true when we negatively share words on these 3 levels.
Material on 3 levels of Affirmation is taken from the Peer Coach Training Workbook by Tony Stoltzfus and Foundations in Leadership Coaching Course by David Smith.
Brain Tip 1#
Whatever your brain pays attention to it hardwires. The same things happens in our brain when we are intentional about words. Focusing on a particular word is like running a highlighter through that word in our brain. Suddenly we start to notice things concerning the word we are focused on, things we didn’t notice before. As Judith Glasser said ‘Words become worlds.’
Be intentional about the word Affirmation and see what happens.
Heart Tip 1#
The cry to be seen and known is in the heart of every human being. We are all looking for intimacy but often experience the joy and the fullness of its touch. The word intimacy can be translated as IN TO ME YOU SEE = INTIMACY Affirmation especially at the future” and ‘being level‘’ has the capacity to impact the deeper parts of a person heart.
Strengths Tip 1#
How Full is Your Bucket
How did you feel after your last interaction with another person? Did that person — your spouse, best friend, co-worker, or even a stranger — “fill your bucket” by making you feel more positive? Or did that person “dip from your bucket,” leaving you more negative than before. Organized around a simple metaphor of a dipper and a bucket, and grounded in 50 years of research, THE BUCKET FILLER will show you how to greatly increase the positive moments in your work and your life — while reducing the negative. This book has been adapted for teachers and parents to use at home or in classrooms to teach children about the power of affirmation. It’s a great resource and can be used as a whole school behaviour management strategy.