“Be faithful to that which exists within yourself.”
— Andre Paul Guillaume Gide, French author and dramatist
“I really appreciate this.”
“No problem,” Mark replied, popping the hood of his truck.
“You got cables?”
“Sure do,” I said. I had found my old booster cables buried deep in the garage.
My vehicle was in the shop for service.
As a courtesy, the garage had lent me a new car off the lot.
Despite searching for one, I could not find the block heater cord.
I gambled that it wouldn’t get too cold overnight. My gamble did not pay off when the overnight temperature dropped to minus 35. I had cranked the engine over only a few times when the battery died.
With both hoods now open, we connected the batteries and I tried cranking over the engine again. It still wouldn’t start.
It growled like an old bear waking up after a winter of hibernation.
Mark shook his head.
“Maybe we should let these two talk for a while.”
“Let who talk?” I was confused.
Mark motioned to the batteries. I understood. Leave the batteries connected.
“You got coffee?” he asked.
“I got coffee,” I replied and we trudged off into the house where it was warm.
Connecting a live battery to a dead battery is often called a boost or, as some prefer, a jumpstart. For the longest time I used to carry booster cables with me.
When I would see someone on the side of the road or in a parking lot with a dead battery, I often would roll up next to them and offer a boost. Most of the time, the other vehicle would crank over and fire right up.
Remembering Mark’s comment about letting the two batteries talk for a while got me thinking.
I love writing about and teaching self-esteem concepts.
To me, it’s a way to remind people of the greatness that lies within. And sometimes when I’m explaining a concept or offering sincere advice, it feels like I have just performed a type of spiritual and emotional jumpstart.
And it occurred to me that during that process of providing a boost, my functioning battery provides life energy to the dead or nearly dead battery. It doesn’t have to teach the dead battery how to be a battery.
In a metaphorical sense, all the living battery does is remind the dead battery of its initial potential. Reminds it of its power.
Once the dead battery is back to functioning within its potential, we disconnect the cables and wave goodbye. In a sense, it’s the same with helping people.
Many times people have commented that a conversation we’d had sparked their enthusiasm and reminded them of what they’d always known but simply forgotten.
When people email me about my weekly columns, or speak to meet at a workshop, in a counselling session or following a speaking engagement, they often thank me for helping them to become whole again. Again, I think back to the jumpstart scenario. I didn’t teach them to be whole; they were already whole. I didn’t teach them to be resilient; they were already resilient.
I didn’t teach them to be resourceful; they were always resourceful. What I did was simply give them a boost, reminding them of their potential for a happy and empowered life.
Need a jumpstart? Here are a few simple tips that may help to connect the cables.
l Learn something new. Buy a book, take a class, sit down and chat with someone who inspires you. Commit to ongoing learning. The more knowledgeable you become, the more empowered you’ll feel, and the more empowered, the more confident and willing you’ll be.
l Seek out a mentor. Look for someone who is doing what you’d love to do or living an inspired life that you’d like to emulate. Ask someone who walks with confidence and acts with integrity if he or she has some time to talk.
I’ll wager you’ll get a yes. Want to get in great shape? Ask a fit friend about exercise and nutrition. Want to learn about the world of finance? Ask someone who manages money well to offer you some advice. Empowered people are always happy to help and typically, the first to encourage others — the first to offer a jumpstart.
l Be kind to yourself. Drop your baggage and let go of past hurts and failings. Forgive others but most importantly, forgive yourself. Learn to love and accept every aspect of yourself. You don’t need to be perfect. Every act of self-kindness helps to build self-esteem.
l If you really want to jumpstart your life then be willing to offer others a boost. When you come across people in need, offer them a spiritual and emotional jumpstart. Connect with these folks and remind them of their greatness, their beauty, their worth and innate strength.
The 14th-century Persian mystic and poet Hafiz once wrote, “I wish I could show you, when you are lonely or in darkness, the astonishing light of your own being.”
When Mark and I came out of the house, I hopped in the car and pushed the start button. The car immediately roared to life. Mark carefully disconnected the booster cables.
“Must have been a successful conversation,” I said.
Marked looked at me and smiled. “My battery knows what to say.”
On a cold day, if you see someone with a vehicle that won’t start, stop and offer a boost.
If you encounter someone whose life has stalled — someone who has forgotten or lost sight of his or her greatness and potentiality – stop and offer a jumpstart.
Murray Fuhrer is a self-esteem expert and facilitator. His new book is entitled Extreme Esteem: The Four Factors. For more information on self-esteem, check the Extreme Esteem website at www.extremeesteem.ca.