Encourage others to be remarkable with your words

Mrs. McClure was my favorite teacher in high school.

She was short, always wore a warm smile, and had an enduring love for English that was completely contagious.

I grew up loving words. I spent my leisure time playing around with them, arranging them in different ways, and using them to express what I kept bottled up inside me.

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At my high school, we were all required to submit stories or poems to the annual Fine Arts Festival. Telling stories was a chore for me at the time because I had never taken the time to examine what made them work.

But I could express what I saw and what I felt with amazing precision.

In 11th grade, I decided that since my stories had been abysmally boring in prior years, I’d try my hand at poetry instead. So I scribbled down 2 poems in about 15 minutes and turned them in.

Soon after, I learned that I’d been awarded 3rd place in the entire school!

So the next year, I spent 20 minutes writing 2 poems.

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I won first place.

That meant I had to go to the state contest, stand in front of a few unfamiliar adults with stern expressions, and recite my poems — from memory.

The thought of that terrified me.

Knowing this, Mrs. McClure became my coach. She never said, “You can’t do this.” She focused on getting me to practice again and again.

Since I liked her, it never felt like a burden.

Her words went with me into the judge’s quarters and gave me courage to stand tall, recite my poems without skipping a beat, and never let fear get its hands on me.

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Later she confided, “You’d have won first place last year, but none of us thought you could get up and speak. This year I decided to take a chance and get you ready because your work is that good.”

I felt blood fill my cheeks as the corners of my mouth locked into an upward crease.

It was the best feeling I’d had the whole time I was in high school — bar none.

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Now It’s Your Turn

Has anyone said something to you that made you feel you were invincible?Click to Tweet

Has anyone’s encouragement given you the courage to overcome whatever obstacle got in your way, no matter how big or terrifying it was?

What would have happened if you didn’t hear those words?

I think you know.

You have the power to shape someone’s destiny. Click to Tweet

Your words — even a simple sentence — can change forever the way someone sees herself. And that can change the way she performs, even more than what she believes about herself.

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Here’s your mission. Look for things people around you are doing that are remarkable. Celebrate those things. Compliment them. Tell others about those things.

Then more remarkable things will happen.

We’re creatures of habit. Why not encourage habits that make the most of what everyone has to offer the world?

We’ll all be better off when we encourage others to be remarkable.

Visit Frank at FrankMcKinleyAuthor.com.

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