I’ve been on the receiving end of someone telling me I would amount to nothing in my life. In fact, I will never forget a teacher in high school telling me that many years ago. It hurt. And, it stayed with me.
Fast forward decades later: since that day, I’ve been the president and CEO of two international footwear companies, founded a nonprofit that I took from zero to over $70 million in less than 5 years and am now the founder and owner of multiple companies.
My Email Signature
Not too long ago I received an email from someone I was communicating with and she asked me why I have in my signature, “Appreciate YOU…YOU Matter.” The reason is simple. I never forgot my other teacher, Mrs. Bush, who helped me see that I did matter and I could do anything.
When I told Mrs. Bush what the first teacher told me, which was weighing heavily on my shoulders, she sat me down and talked to me. She told me that I was important to her. She told me I mattered to her. And, she told me that I could do anything I set my mind to.
In honor of Mrs. Bush, after everything I’ve done, I will never forget the words she told me when I was only 15 years old. That’s why I have those words on my email signature, and so do my team members, by the way.
All of us have busy lives. We’re all trying to accomplish something and get ahead. But, as I always say, “Words matter.” You might think that they don’t, but they really do. A comment you say to your child or spouse as you rush out the door can set the tone for that other person’s day.
You know, I don’t know if that first teacher who told me he thought I would amount to nothing really thought about what he was saying. I don’t know if he understood the profound impact those words would have in my life. There was a moment there when there was a serious risk in my life that his words would actually come to pass. I struggled for a period of time with enormous self-doubt. I had no idea how I was going to escape the prison I was building for myself in my mind.
But, just when I thought the darkness would become pitch black and I would be lost, Mrs. Bush stretched out her hand to me. That’s all I needed. I just needed a glimmer of hope that I could be somebody in this world.
Channel Words Into Positivity
The words the teacher told me that were not so nice ultimately became a driving force for me. I channeled his negative energy and turned it outward to propel me forward. With the support of Mrs. Bush, who saw something in me, I made the decision to “own” my life–every bit of it– and things began to happen for me.
No matter what has occurred in my life, I’ve never forgotten Mrs. Bush and her words, “Wayne, I appreciate you…you matter…” Those words are literally part of the energy I send out to the world every day.
And I will forever see every person as a human being. Once you pull apart the image we each project to show the world, you discover that we all need the same things: love, family, respect, health and some form of joy in our lives.
So, next time you’re angry with someone or someone has not done what you think should be done, check yourself. Slow down, breathe and be careful with your choice of words. Tell them why you appreciate them. You never know the impact they may have on someone else’s life.
Wayne is the author of “Get Off the Couch: Grip & Rip and Break the Barriers Holding You Back in Life” (Free Digital Download)
© 2016 Wayne Elsey and Not Your Father’s Charity. All Rights Reserved.