[March 18, 2023] I had just finished a talk on the motivation of Soldiers. A young Sergeant came up to me and said that he had heard me discussing how to provide encouragement to our troops. He noted how much I said had really helped him, and then he started walking away.
I said, “Hold on, what’s your name?” I always ask people their names because as soon as you get their names, they know they are in a conversation. They know you want to talk. It’s an open invitation, and I do want to talk because I want to find out what I did and how exactly I helped this Sergeant. I wanted to know what worked because then I could do it again, repeatedly and to the benefit of many others.
The Sergeant said I had talked about knowing yourself, telling the truth, adopting responsibility, having a positive outlook on life, and helping others, and how this made a big difference in his life. That allowed me to get a little more personal and it shows that I’m open about his experience, and I truly wanted to know what I did to help this young man.
I asked him what he learned from me made the most difference in his life. The young Sergeant said that he learned to stop comparing himself to other people, berating himself for what he didn’t possess, and how to reward himself for making small incremental improvements. What he is doing is comparing himself today to who he was yesterday. And that is exactly right.
I thought to myself, great! That is precisely what I would like to see more of people get from life. As a senior leader, that is what we like to hear more about. This Sergeant was trying to orient himself to a better, more noble goal and succeeding. This is what all leaders seek from their role as mentors and teachers.
I’m consistently amazed by the absolute lack of encouragement our junior Soldiers have and how they are starving for this message on a massive scale. The consequences of the shortage of a pat on the back, a reassuring word, and the inspiration of young men and women are tragic.
My place in this world is to provide that encouragement.
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Gen. Satterfield, once again, you’ve nailed the essence of getting things done. Encouragement, tho, can be internal or external. Your point that the external is callously lacking is spot on. Just a little “pat on the back” goes a long long way to encouraging us. That is one of the core attributes of leadership. For example,”Leader Trends: Do We Encourage Lying?”
Very well stated, Harry. Thanks.
Learn what you are doing right to help others. That is what the most successful among us are doing. They aren’t working to gain power and wealth (a few are but they are very few) but most are honestly trying to help others be more than they could ever believe they could be. That is part of the reason they are so successful in their life.
There is a lot to be said about the ‘encouragement’ of others, soldiers and just ordinary people too. We all need a pat on the back on occasion. We all need support. This is what being social is so important. We draw energy from others, what they say and by their mere presence. If you are introverted, you can learn more by just being around those who you enjoy being around. Do it and be around others every day. That will do you more good than being alone all the time.
Hi Eye cat. Good points. But I don’t think some people have enough personal mental strength to do this. ❤
Eye Cat is always on top of it.
Encouragement goes a long way to overcoming some of the most basic problems we have at work and in life, in general. That is why it is so important. Not everyone is strong and can barrel thru any situation. We are social creatures and need others. To encourage is to be human. Just like in the military.
Hey, Gen. Satterfield. Wow, you are still at it. Giving talks and having discussions with young folks. Keep it up.
“The Sergeant said I had talked about knowing yourself, telling the truth, adopting responsibility, having a positive outlook on life, and helping others, and how this made a big difference in his life.” this sergeant gets it.
And I’m happy he did. And so should we. I’ve been reading this blog by Gen. Satterfield for a few years and I find it refreshing but also focused on important points that this one sentence nearly covers.
Gen. Satterfield, just a bit off topic here. I recently got a copy of your older book “Our Longest Year in Iraq” and found it a wonderful and compelling read. Thank you.
To start off on another topic, I would recommend (a ha, encourage) you to go to the “Daily Favorites” and read the second article on Pope Francis dated today, 3-18-23. If you are a Christian, you should not be surprised about the “wokeness” of Pope Francis, to use my value judgements. Just take a look.
Good point, Rev Cain. Shows that anyone can become corrupted, and corrupted by ideas rather than by personal gain. Maybe, this is the corruption of power, but I doubt it, just a corruption of the opposite of what Christianity teaches. “Give a man a fish and he eats for a day. Teach him to fish and feed him for a lifetime.” Pope Francis is giving us a fish today. Pope Francis intended to push the Church surreptitiously in a liberal direction and I think things have gotten a bit out of control for him. The Church is headed away from tradition and into a new liberal order world where the known is unknown and we are all about feelings and compassion.
Yes, interesting discussion. I’m Roman Catholic and am embarrassed by the Pope. He also embraces the new BLM movement. Should I say “stupid is as stupid does?” Yes, I will.
The “compassion” he parades in front of us is all fake ……. and all wrong.
How sad for the catholic church.
Let’s not “encourage” Pope Francis to continue down this ugly lane of progressive, neo-Marxist liberalism. For that is where he is headed, even if he does not understand the past ideology that he builds his reign upon. Let us never allow peace for him. Let us all say that we oppose his destruction of tradition …