What are your best memories of being affirmed? Can you easily recreate these memories today?
I imagine we all share a childhood memory of walking into a room full of other children, all of whom are already engaged in laughing and learning, not knowing if we belonged, where we should go, what we should do; and then, hearing a redeeming voice of hope penetrating the chaos with, “Hey! Sit by me!”
To this day it is still one of the most basic affirmations I receive from my friends, or even from just the friendliest person in the room. These three words when spoken into the fear and mystery of the unknown can convey acceptance, safety, freedom, power, trust and a whole bucket of good things that are shared in acceptance.
It is one of the relaxed and simple joys of married life that I always have a person who will sit beside me.
Relationship skills and group success are finding a renewed interest in many recent studies. There is strong focus on how to create healthy relationships at work because we can now validate that groups which trust and feel safe with each other do better work, faster. Being inspired among people who are accepting and willing to add their creativity to yours without the fear of stealing ideas, or being hyper-critical is the most productive type of group we can encourage. Leaders who spend their time thinking about how to quickly create safe teams are the leaders of our future.
It would be awesome if our personal understanding of our need for inclusion in others’ lives drove our behavior. What if our longing for relationships shaped how we make it easier for others to relate to us? How can we simplify safety in meetings? How can we provide for and nurture the necessarily intense moments where we must discern creative pathways of growth for our teams? Positive affirmations and safety sit hopefully at the front of each of these conversations. Hope that your mind can be freely open to mine is the essential building block for the greater conscience that proffers brilliance.
Nowadays I’m taken to almost always saying, “Sit by me” when we have a board meeting or any large group. Try it. It’s an easy and humorous first step to reconnecting to your safe, inner child.