Of all the successful people I've interviewed and studied, almost every one pointed to an individual (or several) who had a profound and lasting influence on their accomplishments.
In many cases, it was simply someone who had confidence in their potential at a time when they needed someone to believe in them.
I've been fortunate in my own life to have a number of people who had faith in me and my success. And it's quite possible that without their support, I might not have made it.
You see, it's easy for people to believe in you when things are looking up. It kind of comes with the territory. But when times are tough, when you've made mistakes and when most people are actively distancing themselves from you, the ones who still express their confidence are rare—sometimes even non-existent.
No doubt there have been people in your own life who made such a difference. They believed in you and that helped you to hang in there when you otherwise might not have done so.
When I was in my early twenties, I bought a farm and began farming. It's not an easy way to make a living. But I was idealistic and a bit naïve. I was on a quest to help diversify a very undiversified agriculture in the state of Vermont.
One of the few people who believed in my ability to do so was a young lawyer named Peter Langrock. Peter was and is a truly interesting man. He had a small farm himself where he bred race horses. His law practice was quite successful, and he has become one of the best known attorneys in Vermont—if not the country.
For whatever reason, Peter took a liking to me and my quest. He saw a young, ambitious, hard-working kid with a dream and a vision. And when no banks would lend me any money to make it happen, he took it upon himself to co-sign a loan. Now THAT'S belief.
I built one of the largest livestock operations of its type in Vermont and even started a meat packing company. But in the end,
I was not very successful in farming and agribusiness. It's expensive to be a maverick.Nonetheless, I will never forget this man's faith in me and how much it helped me then—and even now. Thank you, Peter.
What about you? Who had faith in you? Or did you prevail IN SPITE of not having anyone believe in you?And also, who do YOU believe in? Who have you mentored, encouraged or taken under your wing? I believe we all should “pay it forward”.
Make a difference in a young person's life. Take an interest in someone with a dream—or help them develop one. Look for the best that's within them.
In our twilight years, it won't be our monetary success, our achievements or accumulation of toys, but rather the difference we've made in people's lives that we will remember best.
Simply believing in someone—and having them know that—may be the best that you can do to help someone succeed. Editor's Note: There's a great story about Peter Langrock in the University of Chicago Magazine.