Top Ten Ways to Support Someone in Being Their Best

Written by Michael Angier

Is Fear of Failure Holding You Back?

One of the greatest responsibilities we have is to support ourselves and others in living at our highest and best. Whether we’re parents, partners, friends or leaders, it’s incumbent upon us to help others to live as close to their unique potential as we can.

With everything we say and do, we’re influencing — positively or negatively — the people we care about. The ideal is to do this with consideration and intention. Here are ten ways you can help others see and realize the best that’s within them:

  1. Believe in them
    We all have self-doubts from time to time. Our confidence is shaken. We lack the faith in our talents and skills to go for an important promotion or launch a new initiative. Having someone believe in you at these times is priceless. The stories of great men and women are saturated with examples of someone who believed in them even when they didn’t fully believe in themselves.
  2. Encourage them
    “You can do it.” “I know you can.” These are words that are all-too-infrequently voiced. Sincere encouragement can go a long way in helping someone stay the course. The more specific you are, the better the results. “I remember when you got through your slump last year and ended up winning the sales contest. I’m willing to bet that you’ll do even better this time.”
  3. Expect a lot
    We’re often told not to get our hopes up. We’re encouraged to have REALISTIC expectations. But when it comes to helping others operate at their best, we sometimes have to up-level our expectations. This can be taken to extremes, but there are many times when a teacher, a parent or even a boss has required more of us than we thought we were capable. And we’ve risen to the challenge which enabled us to see further than before.
  4. Tell the truth
    And tell it with compassion. We often avoid telling the hard truth because we don’t want to upset anyone. We want to be NICE. But telling the truth is a loving act. You may be the only person who can or will say to another what needs to be said. And you can confront someone without being combative.
  5. Be a role model
    One of the best ways we influence is by our own actions. Who we are speaks much more loudly than what we say. Don’t think that people aren’t watching you. They are. And they’re registering everything about you consciously and unconsciously. We automatically emulate our role models. And we’re ALL role models to someone so let’s be good ones.
  6. Share yourself
    Too often, we miss the value of sharing our failings. We don’t want to be vulnerable so we hold back. In doing so, we deprive others of our experience, our learning and our humanity. When you share from your own experience — especially your failures — you increase empathy, you’re more approachable and you increase your relatability to others.
  7. Challenge them
    The word “challenge” has some negative connotations. The meaning we’re using here is, “a test of one’s abilities or resources in a demanding but stimulating undertaking.” We all need to be challenged from time to time. Doing it for another is an art form. Go too far and it will backfire. Go too easy and you will appear patronizing. Remind people of their commitment to being their best and state your challenge. “I challenge you to overcome these unimportant opinions and get on with the real task at hand, get the job done, make the commitment, etc.”
  8. Ask good questions
    A good therapist or coach doesn’t tell their clients what to do. They ask good questions in order for the client to understand themselves better, to get clear on what the issue is and from there to make good choices. You can do the same. By asking elegant questions, you cause people to think and come up with solutions. They’ll appreciate it. Gary Lockwood has a good article about this called Asking Intelligent Questions with Impact.
  9. Acknowledge them
    You find what you’re looking for. If you’re looking for the best in someone, you’ll see it. If you’re looking for their failings, you’ll see those. Catch people doing things right and tell them. When we acknowledge the good deeds of others, they tend to do more of them. Write a note. Send a card. Give them a call. Praise them in front of others.
  10. Spend time with them
    We love what we give our time to. By devoting your most precious resource (time) to another individual, you’re showing them that you truly value them and your relationship with them. Invest time in your relationships; it’s what life is made of.

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6 Responses to “Top Ten Ways to Support Someone in Being Their Best”

  • Sharon says:

    thank you for the great article this is good also for mentoring people I enjoyed it– sharon

  • Aldo says:

    John, at a couple points in my life I believed to be madly in love with the girl I was going with at the time. When we broke-up, although I went through a time of depression, I eventually came out of it. I continued to pray and ask God to send me a woman that would love me as much as I loved her.

    When I was discharged from service at the age of 26 and returned home, I stated dating a wonderful woman. We married within a year, and celebrated our 54th wedding anniversary this past March.

    I related that to encourage you John, and to say to you that when God closes one door He opens another one so much better than the previous. He has a plan for you. You need to find out what it is.

    The way in which you can do this is by being in right relationship with Him. The way to be in right relationship with Him is through His Son Jesus Christ, who died for your sins and the sins of all mankind.

    John, I am not referring to being “religious”, but to having a “relationship”. There is a simple prayer you can pray from your heart that God will honor. It goes like this:

    “Dear God, I admit I am a sinner and need Your forgiveness; I believe that Jesus Christ, Your Son, died in my place, paying the penalty for my sins. I am willing right now to turn from my sin and accept Him as my personal Savior and Lord. I commit myself to You, and ask You to send the Holy Spirit into my life, to fill me and take control, and to help me become the kind of person You want me to be. Thank You Father for loving me, forgiving my sins, and for giving me everlasting life, in Jesus name, Amen.”

  • John Anderson says:

    I adore and love a women that has a hard time not being persuade in all directions I may or may not be great but she has lost magic she had in her heart for me and I walk through pain not having her any more, whatever I got to do I need her

  • Natalie M. says:

    perhaps this article will ‘enhance’ the dedication and effort you put into relationships with the new people you’ve chosen, over someone who hindered you in the past.

  • Rashid says:

    Woman dresses doesn’t
    I found the site same way. I pray to God for all the blessing, money, house, happiness I hope Someone close to God pray for me thank you mighty Lord in Jesus name Amen

  • tai hara says:


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