Powerful Ways to Let People Know They Matter

You matterI had the best weekend I have had in a very long time. I spent Saturday with a dear friend in having an early birth celebration. I was absolutely spoiled and loved every moment.

This year is another milestone – 60!

This friend is intelligent, nonjudgmental, kind-hearted, and it is just lovely to spend time with someone who makes me feel that I matter. And we laughed!

I always laugh with him, about the silliest things, and it makes me feel good.

And Sunday I spent time with a new friend and had the one of the most engaging conversations with her and her son.

Her son is gay and is moving from California to Boulder in November. He is articulate, creative, engaging, funny, handsome, and I enjoyed our conversation so much.

We talked about how hard it is to make friends here in Boulder.

He said, “when you make people feel they matter, making friends is easy.” And then he showed me this quote on his iPhone which is something he lives by:

“This is the first test of a gentleman, his respect for those who can be of no possible value to him.” ~ William Lynn Phelps

WOW … what an amazing and beautiful soul this young man is.

From both my experiences this weekend I begin to think about how it is we can make people feel they matter.

When I think of people who made the biggest impact in my life, it was not their expertise or accomplishments that provided me with the direction, guidance and reassurance I needed to accomplish my goals. It was their sincere belief in me. They let me know through their words and actions that I mattered.The people in your life want that same validation. In fact, every single person you will ever meet shares this common desire. They want to know they matter.

The measure of a life is not what that life accomplishes but rather the impact that life has on others.
~ Jackie Robinson

Mattering is a universal human need, and it’s one you have the opportunity to satisfy. Can the people in your life can answer, “yes” to the following questions:

  • I know I matter to you
  • I know you care about me
  • I know you hear me
  • I know you see me

Do you only think of people in how significant they can be to you and your life or do you also care about people who seem insignificant to your life but can benefit from your attention, blessings, caring, engagement, even if just for a moment? Imagine where this will take you.

At every moment of the day, we are either making the world a better place or making it worse. Our thoughts spread out and become contagious, either positively infecting others or unleashing a plague of negativity, doubt and fear. We have the power to help lift someone up or to bring them down. How we interact with those we meet may be the catalyst that sets someone into an emotional tailspin or the spark that provides them with encouragement and HOPE for a better day… or maybe even a better life.

Cynicism sucks. It sucks the life out of work, business, and people. Life and work is hard enough and it is easy to get into situations that tear us down. People want and need to be inspired. When people are inspired, they are lifted above these kinds of circumstances and allowed to see the upside of what they can achieve or become. When you can be the one who inspires them, by encouragement or modeling, you’ve helped them and you matter!

Mattering is a choice. Give yourself that option everyday. It doesn’t matter how you do it- it only matters that you do it. You can say it, write it, tweet it, or deliver the message in person. Make the choice everyday to tell, offer, thank, encourage, inspire, and let others know you notice and believe in them. It could be and often will be the most powerful thing you do all day. Is mattering on your TO DO list?

No one likes the person in the family, at work, or just at a small gathering of people who only talks about themselves, their beliefs, their desires, their interests, their accomplishments, their passions, and their importance, right? You become far more interesting and important when you talk about the exciting things other people are attempting, doing, creating, engaging in, learning, preparing for, writing, and sharing. Doing so gives you the opportunity to make a lot of new friends and establish yourself as someone who is always learning and growing from others. Now, that’s an accomplishment worth talking about.

When you acknowledge someone, you recognize their value and importance. How about starting the day with a “Good Morning” email or Tweet? Or smiling at each and every co-workers as you pass by them by on way to the office? Or reaching out to a new acquaintance you see in a crowd or bump into in the Blogosphere? Go out of your way to acknowledge people. Make an effort to “see them”. Like the Na’vi in the movie Avatar, who greeted one another with the phrase “I see you” as a belief and acknowledgment there is something marvelous in everyone you meet.

There is a difference between simply listening to people and listening with interest. This kind of listening requires your ears and heart. Listening with deep interest signifies that you really care about what someone is saying in contrast to simply listening because it is the nice thing to do. When you question whether people can tell the difference, DON’T. They can, and it matters.

Questions are a window into our minds and intentions. We show people how much they matter by the questions we ask. How important do questions make you feel? When was the last time you asked someone what was the best part of their day? When was the last time you asked someone what you can do to make their day better

The ultimate present you can give another is your PRESENCE. How many times have you been in a conversation with someone, and you know their mind is in another place? How many times have you felt “un-noticed” when someone was looking right at you? You do not have to be available for everyone in every moment … yet, when you have someones time and attention; honor it with your presence. Really make that person the center of your attention and experience them wholly, even if only for a few minutes. It does wonders in the mattering department!

This morning I heard from a friend. It was a simple text message asking how I was doing followed by a :-) . It mattered. It doesn’t take much to make someone’s day. It could be a smile, wink, or tweet. It could be an email of praise or a pat on the back for encouragement. Or, a call to say, “hi – how ya doin’, you were on my mind.”  Almost always, it’s something small that makes a big difference. So, do sweat the small stuff.

If you’ve ever had the pleasure of teaching a classroom full of young children, you know how much encouragement matters. Children ask out loud, “Is this ok? Did I do it right? Do you like what I did? They need the reassurance that they are headed in the right direction. This reassurance does not stop when you leave grade school. When you encourage others, you not only communicate that you care and they matter; you add fuel to their motivational fire. And perhaps more than anything else, you give them hope and inspiration.

When it doesn’t come natural to you, all the more reason to do it more often. It will begin to feel natural soon. Of course, “You matter” is what everyone wants to hear, however, other phrases work just as well: “I’m happy to see you. You mean so much to me. You’re contribution to my life is immeasurable. I so appreciate you.” The language of mattering is universal; no translation necessary. Tell people and tell them often how much they matter!

I’ll leave you with this final thought and challenge. Can you imagine what kind of world we can create by each of us knowing we matter, believing in ourselves and supporting one another? Can you imagine how actions you take today, could make a difference in some one’s life tomorrow? And that ripple would last for generations? I can, and I know this simple, clear message of “YOU MATTER” has the power to change lives and change the world.

Join me in letting the world know in big and small ways that they matter. And in case you’ve not yet been told today that what you do makes a difference, than let me be the first to say…


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