Helping other people shine is a key to your own personal success. Often it can involve helping another overcome a fear blocking his/her success. And sometimes the way is simple and just requires us to be alert and attentive to the circumstances.
Here's a short, but true, story of how this happened for Farhia, a Pakistani friend of mine. And what I learned in the process.
A Local Example with Global Flavor
Last year I convened a small group of international wives who wanted to learn English as their Second Language (ESL). Many of these women have very young children so weren’t able to take the traditional classes offered in our area.
Three of the women were Pakistani, and none of them drove in the U.S. They shared with me their interest in growing their English language skills. Incidentally, although English is one of Pakistan’s “official” languages and many speak it fluently, many more only have a basic grasp of English or don’t understand it at all.
I shared in a Facebook group about the opportunity to hold a small, informal class. A couple of these women piped up; they definitely were interested. In fact, one of them offered to open up her home for the first gathering.
“That would be perfect,” I thought. She lived in a community where many of these women also lived.
The day came and I arrived at her home. As we were preparing for others to come, Farhia asked me to tell her if she should change anything, what she could do to make the place better.
“You know,” she admitted, “I was quite nervous about today. I have never done anything like this before.”
I prodded her for more.
“I have not done any entertaining since I’ve been here.”
She had been in the U.S. for almost one-and-a-half years.
An Excellent Result
As people came and the group got going, a warmth and familiarity filled the room. The women interacted well, children milled in and out, and our learning time was both convivial and productive.
As women’s events often do, it ended with a table full of snacks – much more than we ever would have needed.
I turned to Farhia. “So, what do you think?”
She was full of smiles. “This was so much better than I could have imagined! I can’t believe I waited for so long to do something like this.”
She went on. “You see, I was embarrassed about my English. I didn’t want to join [your monthly events] because I was afraid I couldn’t communicate well enough.”
“Now I can see I let my fear get in the way.”
How Often do We Let Fear Get in the Way?
What are you not doing because you’re afraid you’re not good enough at it? That you might be ridiculed or discovered to be an “imposter?”
For Farhia, it was just a matter of offering her place. Of course, she had to deal with the “pressure” of being a first-time hostess in the U.S. But, beyond that, she gained a great deal of satisfaction knowing she had successfully welcomed people into her home. She learned that, overall, it wasn’t as big a deal as she had made it to be in her mind.
Farhia overcame her fear. And so can you.
Giving Others the Chance to Shine
Perhaps there are times when you are able to do something but you choose to step back and allow another to step forward. I could have hosted that ESL gathering, but chose not to.
Instead, Farhia stepped forward, and something valuable happened. She learned she could do it. She gained a sense of satisfaction and confidence she could do it again.
In fact, when the session ended, Farhia and another Pakistani woman stepped forward and suggested they would take turns hosting the meeting week after week, going back and forth between the houses. This proved a good arrangement.
Giving others a chance to shine, to offer what they can (even if they’re not sure they’re good at it), builds confidence and trust.
What are some ways you can encourage others to overcome their fears? And how can you overcome your own?
Image credit: depositphotos