Have you ever had an experience where other people believed in you more than you believed in yourself?
Maybe it was a friend, a parent or a coach. Do you remember learning to ride a bike, it wasn’t easy at first, but the people around you supported you and guided you until you got it.
As an adult have you had a situation where someone else had more confidence in your abilities than you did?
For me it was a very sweaty day...
Let me tell you a bit about the lead up. It was back in the days of film photography so you didn’t get the instant gratification and you didn't know if you had the best shots.
I was 21, photography was a hobby but I couldn’t afford a good camera. I had a friend who had an amazing camera and I borrowed it a couple of times to do formal ball photos for the youth group at my church.
After a couple of years of doing the yearly ball photos, one of the couples in the church got engaged and asked me to photograph their wedding. My immediate answer was no way! I wasn’t a pro photographer. It was their wedding day! That was way too important to risk on someone that had never photographed a wedding before. I had no photography training, plus I didn’t even own a camera.
The bride to be asked me a second time, and although being truly honoured to be thought good enough to capture their special day, there was no way I was going to risk spoiling it with my inexperience.
A week or so went by and the bride's mum called me. I remember her words distinctly even now almost 20 years on. She said, ‘Nathan, Janelle believes in you, she feels comfortable with you, she wants you, and won’t be happy with anyone else’ I replied with my case about having no experience and not wanting to make a mistake and ruin it for them, but the Mum was insistent that Janelle only wanted me, and that she loved what I had done at the formal dinners over the last couple of years.
Well, I finally agreed to photograph the wedding...
Fast forward a few months, and with two borrowed cameras in hand (for the young ones, one with colour film and one with black and white) I sat at the back of the church checking all the settings awaiting the brides arrival.
That is where the sweaty part comes in.
A friend, who was also a guest entered the church and put his hand on my back to say a friendly hello, he immediately recoiled his hand with a little disgust and said, ‘Man you are sweating!’ Yep I was.
Doing a good job mattered!
It mattered to me, it mattered to the Bride and Groom!
I was tasked with capturing a once in a lifetime event. I was out of my comfort zone. I was in new territory. And I was there because someone believed in me more than I believed in myself.
To cut a long story short, it was a beautiful day. The shots turned out wonderfully. The couple enjoyed themselves, and I’m sure I eventually found some deodorant so I didn’t spoil the reception with my BO.
The moral of the story is ...
Sometimes it takes others to believe in us more than we believe in ourselves.
Sometimes it is only then, with their encouragement that we can step out and take a risk.
I tell this story for two reasons, the first is to encourage you to believe in others, to encourage them to rise to a higher level.
Who do you know, that maybe with a little encouragement could do something amazing?
Who do you know is holding back?
Could you be the person that gives them the opportunity that will change their life just like that bride did for me?
And secondly, have a look at your life, is there something that you have been shying away from?
Is there another level in your career, your fitness, your personal life that you know is maybe possible but you need a little more belief in yourself?
Have a think right now about someone who believes in you more than you believe in yourself, could you share that next level with them? Could they be the person to help you achieve it?
It may be your boss, maybe they are trying to give you more responsibility but you are scared of taking it becasue you may fail. It could be a friend or your partner, or maybe it could be a coach. Someone who has your best interests at heart. Someone who wants to see you be happy and to achieve all you want to achieve.
This is my story of someone believing in me that set me down a path to being a professional photographer and having a high end studio with four staff. That path led me to now being a high performance coach, and I now I get to be the person that believes in others and see them do amazing things.
I hope you encounter multiple people like this over your life time.
PS: 19 years later the couple are still very happily married with two beautiful kids.