On April 4th, 2016, I turned the same age my father was when he died in 1985 on my wedding day. Yes, on my wedding day. Just hours before the ceremony. I dreaded turning this age for decades, fearing it would be my fate as well. Seems to be a common feeling amongst those of us who had a parent die young. Life insurance companies certainly make you feel doomed!
I was the only one with my father. I sent my mother out of the room to protect her and my two older brothers were not around. It was not something I was prepared to handle at 21 years old. In a brief moment of consciousness, my father said two things to me. First, he said, “Give me a cigarette.” That wasn’t going to happen. Second, he said, “You’re a good kid.” Coming from a man that rarely expressed any emotion, I realized that was going to be as good as it would get. But it wasn’t what I most wanted to hear.
What I wanted to hear was, “I’m proud of you.”
I believe many of us long to hear those four powerful words. As a business coach, I do an exercise at the end of a group coaching session to bring it to a close. I ask the attendees to think about what they most want to hear in their lives. Then, I ask them to walk around the room in silence, randomly walking up to one another and gently whisper in one another’s ear what they most want to hear.
Always, “I’m proud of you” is what most people long to hear.
So, that’s why I started #ImProudOfYouDay. At least on one day, April 4th of each year, I want to encourage everyone, around the globe, in whatever language, to tell the people in their life that they are proud of them.
It’s simple. Just four words. Four words that can change someone’s life.