A New Year: The Most Important Question
“Believe in yourself! Have faith in your abilities! Without a humble but reasonable confidence in your own powers you cannot be successful or happy.” – Norman Vincent Peale
Each year at this time, many of us press pause for a few moments in anticipation of the new year. All around the world, cultures and peoples celebrate the switch of the calendar year with parties, traditions, and time gathered with the people we love most. The word Resolution means new diets, new exercise plans, new budgets, and all things new. But this year, I’m trying something different, and I’d like to explain why …
Coach Argyle’s Infectious Encouragement
Last year, I sat on squat benches or gym mats to watch my older two sons play basketball for the middle school team in Prague. Basketball wasn’t a sport to be played in Eastern Europe–it couldn’t compete with the Handball, Futbol, and Hockey passions in Prague. But I remember the first game, watching the coach for our school. Coach Argyle was new, fresh from teaching and coaching in China, but he was American from the West, through and through. With height in the upper 6′ range, he looked like a basketball coach. But it was more than his height which affected me and countless others — it was his attitude and outlook which changed me, probably all of us, for the better.
Under his coaching, the middle school team, made up of scrappy players from far corners of the world, played well in the final tournament. Coach Argyle entertained all the teams with his larger-than-life antics, flapping like a bird and saying ca-caw to remind the players to have their hands up in defense. His goals for the team were stated often: to win, but more, to win the sportsmanship award. He showed the players how to encourage other teams, to talk with them and learn from them and cheer for them during other games.
Often, Coach Argyle would holler, “Believe! I believe in you!”, even when cheering for other teams. I will never forget the faces of those boys from Istanbul or Bucharest upon hearing those words. They made their shots. They played as if someone else believed in them, if even for those moments. Those simple words made all the difference. They make all the difference.
I Believe in You
One of the most important things I hope to do this year and onward is to be someone who says to others, “I believe in you.” The gift of encouragement makes a tremendous impact, and can change the course of an hour, a day, a life. It is one of the most important things we can do.
Believe in Yourself
Yet the key foundation for being able to spread lavish encouragement is first being able to believe in ourselves. If we can’t believe we were born with something important to offer and be and share, how can we encourage others to do the same?
Believing in ourselves starts with knowing who we are. Knowing who we are comes from years of experience and persevering despite resistance, learning what it is that we love and what it is that makes us tick.
I believe travel, reading, learning, taking risks, and loving others all help us to learn who we are. I believe we are all born with specific gifts to share with the world, and we live most fulfilled as we use those gifts to help others.
In other words, our lives are most vibrant when we can be ourselves.
The Most Important Question for Each New Day and Year
One thing is for sure: our lives would be different and eternally better if we began each new year and each new day with this question:
Who do I want to be? And then become that person one choice at a time.
So that’s the question I’m asking myself today, tomorrow, and the next day, all year. Certainly, perfection is unattainable, but doing our best hour by hour is not. Let’s make this a year of wholehearted belief, infectious encouragement, unwavering faith, and unswerving dedication to being our very best.
Cheers, to a wonderful year ahead!
For day by day faith-based inspiration for every day of the year, see my books, the hardcover version published by Tyndale House (2007) still available as The One Year Mini for Busy Women at BN.com or Amazon, or the e-book version entitled ENJOY Today: Inspirations for Every Day for sale at Amazon for $3.62.