I met Diane at a seminar on downsizing. A number of us “seniors” were there to get a handle on downsizing our homes and all its clutter. After the presentation, the marketing director asked us if we wanted to see some of the properties in this senior residence. Diane and I were the only 2 who jumped in for a “look see!”
As we entered the elevator, Diane spoke about herself and her journey. She was 74. She had two grown children. Her husband had been gravely ill for most of their marriage. When her daughter married out of state, her dad couldn’t attend because of his health. In addition, Diane had lost two businesses as a result of the economy. In addition, she took a fall which warranted a rod in her spine to keep her upright. It took her over a year to heal.
I was humbled by her story. I turned 60 a couple of months before. It wasn’t an exciting birthday. I was trying to rebuild my life after an eviction, job (and friend) loss, and overcoming cataract surgery. I thought I had it bad UNTIL I heard her story.
Can I give you a compliment? I asked.
Sure! she said.
Thank you for being an inspiration to me and to others. Your story told me a lot about overcoming life’s speed bumps. You’ve done it in a very quiet and respectful way!
She burst into tears.
How can you say that? How am I an inspiration?
I told her that many times we silently go through things that have us feeling lost and overwhelmed. Without a “testimony” we think we’re the only one UNTIL we hear about the struggle/success of someone who’s had it worse. In addition, I told her that her story was a PRIME example of moving forward with a greater appreciation of what GOD has in store for ALL of us. As I spoke, I cried too. That in turn made her, and the leasing agent also cry. I hadn’t really intended on throwing this lady a curve. It just happened.
Validation is important. It needs to be done consistently and purposely. You never know what someone is going through, until you hear their story. In my case, I needed to hear Diane’s story. Her story gave me momentum. I needed to move forward with my life. In hearing her story, I validated her by saying Thank you. You changed my life!
Validation = Changing someone’s life!
Just 1 Page . . .
Focus: Validation, spirit, life purpose, inspiration
Question for You: 1) How can your life story inspire others? 2) Who can you share it with?