Think back to the last time somebody paid you a really great compliment. How did you react or respond to that compliment? In my experience, many times, people respond by saying: “You’re too kind”, “No… you’re way too nice”, “It’s nothing, really”, etc. I hear it on almost a daily basis. I’m guilty of it, too. But, when was the last time you received a really great compliment, and just said, “Thank you”, knowing that you were deserving of such high praise? People are very quick to diminish the things they do well. People underestimate the impact they have on others a lot of times. In general, they just don’t give themselves enough credit.
When someone pays you a compliment, do you ever stop and wonder why? Clearly, you made a strong impression on that person, whether you realize it or not. Every day of my life, I wonder if certain people know how highly I think of them. I try to compliment them as often as possible, but I don’t think they fully understand how amazing I think they are. I know that they don’t think of themselves as being special in any way, but they are. They are to me, and I know they have to be to others, as well.
I receive compliments from people on a regular basis for various reasons, and I am starting to become more accepting of those compliments, but I still have a hard time accepting them, as I know others do.
Recently, I have had a few opportunities to take a step back and see some of the things that others see in me. I have met people who are in a position to inspire people that is similar to the situation I am in. I have been impressed by these people, and have seen and heard how impressed others are, too. It has been a good reminder for me that the things I do are different and stand out compared to the things most people do. It has reminded me that I should be proud of the fact that I stand out, and I should go out of my way to use the unique things I do to inspire others.
Over the past couple of months, I have approached several people on the driving range or practice green while I was working, and asked if they would like help with their golf game. The most common response I get is, “No, I’m a lost cause. I’m beyond help. Thanks though.” Every time, my response has been, “I’m in a damn wheelchair, and I’m not a lost cause. If I can do it, so can you!! Now, how can I help you?” About 95% of the time, I have already spotted and corrected the biggest flaw in their swing within the first five minutes. Every time, when they see the immediate progress they’ve made and are happy, I say, “But I thought you were a lost cause… what happened to that?” By asking that question, I hope I am able to help them realize that they need to think more positively and focus on their potential, not their flaws.
Last week, I got to watch a kid who only has the use of his left hand hit a few shots on the driving range. My initial reaction was, “How the hell does he do that? That’s amazing!!” And then I stopped for a second and thought about my own swing. I immediately realized that most people must think the same thing about my swing as I thought about this kid’s swing. Seeing how well he plays got me excited to work harder on my own game. If he was able to inspire me in that way, I have no doubt that I can do the same for someone else.
In the past, I have been completely caught off guard and confused by people telling me that they think watching me play golf is amazing. I don’t swing the way other people swing. My physical limitations have forced me to invent my own way of playing. My swing is my own. I am self-taught. It’s all trial and error. The more people I meet and the more I teach, the more I understand that I can inspire people just by being myself.
Honestly, I feel that there is nothing special about me at all. I do what I do because I have to find my own way of doing things. I don’t have a choice. But I know that people see me doing things differently and are impressed by what I do. Even during the worst round of my life, someone said to me, “Wow!! How did you do that?”
If you want to find a way to inspire other people or if you want to impress somebody else, realize that you already do. You don’t have to go out of your way to force it. Somebody is already inspired by you. Somebody is already impressed. Keep being yourself and pay attention when somebody compliments you. They’re complimenting you for a reason. Find out what that reason is instead of just ignoring it or diminishing it. Somebody thinks you’re awesome… you should think you’re awesome, too!!