“Hello Lucas, your dad told me you want to be a goalkeeper? Good lad. We always need good goalkeepers. Here’s some advice from me. First of all, you have to work hard. Being a goalkeeper is not easy. But the more you play… your eyes will get better at spotting the angles… great goalies have good anticipation… keep practising and you’ll get better and better at this… and be brave, too, if you lose or make a mistake. We all make them. I made some mistakes, but I never let anyone see that I was upset. Good luck Lucas.”
This was a message from World Cup–winning goalkeeper Gordon Banks. He talks about difficulty, about hard work and about bravery. Banks passed away recently and when newspapers published this message to Lucas, it mesmerised millions of people.
But imagine the effect his words had on Lucas. An eight-year-old who wore his heart on his sleeve when he missed a ball. Perhaps he was honoured to get a letter from a celebrity. Perhaps he loved the practical tips. But his dad observed a much more profound impact on Lucas: the message built his confidence.
We are all Lucas. We have ambitions, dreams and the fear of failure. Tips are useful. But when someone helps us build confidence that’s priceless.
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Tell people how you got to where you are. Talk about the hurdles. Share your tricks. Give hope. As a leader, the most precious thing you can help others build is confidence. And it’s free.
(From my Marketing Week column).