“Thank you for liberating me.”

A phone call with a friend and fellow Gallup Certified Strength Coach ended yesterday with both of us saying those words to each other. She went on to say what both of us meant, “Thank you for helping me give myself permission to be my best self.”

We then both agreed that every conversation between friends should end with that feeling, and now I can’t stop thinking about how that would change the world.

I found myself thinking of that during my training today, and then I found myself thinking about the Gallup Q12, a list of questions that correlate with the highest level of employee engagement.

One of the questions is: At work, do you have the opportunity to do what you do best every day?

Another Q12 question is: Is there someone at work who encourages your development?

As I ran today, I found myself thinking about how these questions relate. How many of us really know what we do best? It often requires feedback from other people. It often requires encouragement from other people. Learning curves are sometimes steep and difficult. Sometimes we need someone cheering us on and reminding us we can keep going when it feels hard.

Just as I thought of that, I literally reached the bottom of a hill. I thought about walking up because my lungs were struggling and my legs were burning. Instead, I pictured someone standing along the road saying, “It’s not as far as you think to the top, you can totally do this, and it’s downhill the rest of the way after you get to the top.”

Think of the power if there had been someone actually there saying that. I made it to the top with just my imaginary person encouraging me, but I might’ve made it even faster with a real person.

What if someone had been standing along my run with really good intentions but said, “It’s pretty hard. You’ve run so far already, and I’m not sure you can make it to the top.”

Do you hear the difference? Often our best comes out because other people see it before we do and they see us just a little bit better/stronger/more than we see ourselves. If they let us know, we just might grow. If they don’t, or if they express unnecessary doubt, we just might shrink.

It is the daily job of our house parents and teachers at My Refuge House to be that voice of encouragement for the girls at My Refuge House…and for each other. I’d like to challenge the rest of us to take on that role with each other, too.

Heather Headshot

Heather Bland CEO, My Refuge House

Inspired by How Full Is Your Bucket?, A Drop For Your Bucket offers a somewhat stream of conscious peek into my brain and heart during my training “adventures”. Between my 40th birthday in October of 2017 and the 10th anniversary of My Refuge House in September of 2018, I will run 10 different races. My hope is to gather friends along the way who will either run with me or cheer us on as we raise awareness about the journey of My Refuge House! I hope you will receive at least drop of inspiration in each of these raw reflections. Thank you for reading and pondering.

Countdown until we hope to see you in Dallas at Fashioned For Freedom: