Want To Change A Life? Speak Up

Here is a guest post by the life changing Amy Lorton. Amy is a writer and editor at Dave Ramsey‘s office. If you’re passionate about writing, or sharing wisdom, you can guest post as well! Read how to here.

Throughout my high school career, there were two words that would have NEVER been associated with me—honor student. No, I wasn’t the kid in the bathroom sneaking a smoke or cutting class. And the only time I ever stepped a foot into the principal’s office was to pick up my brother. (He, on the other hand, never saw a rule he didn’t want to break.) I just knew I wasn’t blessed in the academic department.

Even thinking about taking a test simply freaked me out.  I would study all week, the quiz would be placed on my desk and my eyes would glaze over. The thought process would go something like this:  Question 1. Explain the Pythagorean Theorem? Hmmm. Pythagorean. That sounds Greek. What do I know about Greece?  I know I like feta cheese and those weird little olives. How come bitter can taste so good? What do they call a Greek salad in Greece anyway? Just salad?  And on and on it would go, with thoughts of the test far, far away.

Luckily for me, I met Mrs. Hiles, and high school life, as I knew it, changed. I took her writing class because I secretly thought her kids had the coolest names ever: Amy, Beth and Meg.  Mrs. Hiles stopped having babies before Jo came along. But still, she had three out of the four characters from Little Women. How awesome was that?

For the first time, I fell in love with a subject—writing. Also new for me, a teacher who recognized it and encouraged me to do more. Before long, I earned my first high school A. And then something even funnier happened. I also started acing tests in other subjects.

The reason for this long and involved story is simple. Whether you’re dealing with a high school kid with zero confidence or a 30-year-old team member, you can change a life with just a few encouraging words. Take time to recognize your team and their talents. When they do something good, let them know about it. As Dave and Chris both say, it’s almost impossible to have a passionate, creative motivated team if there is no recognition. Make a habit of catching them doing something right and watch the magic happen. Thanks Mrs. Hiles.

Question: How do you encourage your team? 



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Meet Chris LoCurto


Chris has a heart for changing lives by helping people discover the life and business they really want.

Decades of personal and leadership development experience, as well as running multi-million dollar businesses, has made him an expert in life and business coaching. personality types, and communication styles.

Growing up in a small logging town near Lake Tahoe, California, Chris learned a strong work ethic at home from his full-time working mom. He began his leadership and training career in the corporate world, starting but at E'TRADE.

16 thoughts on “Want To Change A Life? Speak Up”

  1. What a cool personal story to show the application of encouragement. I’ve heard that most professional athletes can point back to one coach they had in their teenage years that was instrumental in developing their confidence and character. Stories like this make me want to really spend a lot of time investing in youth!

  2. It’s easy for me to blast my team with encouragement. It is one of my natural gifts. In fact, if all else fails that’s the first thing I do. Encourage to instill hope. I have to strengthen hearts. As matter as fact I just did a post on my own blog called, “The 11 Attributes of Leadership Pt 1 – Unwavering Courage.” It’s an eleven part series that I am going on Napoleon Hills, Think and Grow Rich book, where he talks about 11 major attributes of leadership. All I am doing is taking what he said, bringing the Word of God next to it and comparing, contrasting, or strengthening on what I do agree with to add more power to people. Changing lives is a must around our people.

    Wonderful post!
    Christ bless!

  3. In my workplace, half of our sales team works from home offices. They don’t see the day to day work that the assistants and support team here in the office do to help make their lives easier. I often hear the support staff say they wish their superiors knew all the steps it took to get things done. Since I’m here in the office, I try to encourage them and let them know how thankful we as a team are for their hard work. We couldn’t do it without them!

  4. Funny that you mentioned the Pythagorean Theorem! A few years back, someone passed me in the hallway at work, and asked me in passing if I knew that formula.

    Without hesitation, I declared “A squared + B squared = C squared”. I was amazed that not only did I recall it immediately after learning over 20 years ago, but that someone actually had a reason to apply it to a task they were performing!
    (Incidentally, I forgot my patient’s name on the way to the waiting room, after reading only seconds before! Long term memory great, short term memory–not so much!)

    I loved this story. As I read it, I am trying to surprise 2 of my team members with a paid afternoon off as a reward for busting their butts all week.

    1. (Incidentally, I forgot my patient’s name on the way to the waiting room, after reading only seconds before! Long term memory great, short term memory–not so much!)

  5. Amy, thank you for telling us this wonderful story. My 6th grade teacher taught me how to draw, and we are friends even now!

    I don’t have a team to encourage but I do have questions for you:

    1. Are you still in touch with Mrs. Hiles?
    2. Does she know how much she affected your life?
    3. Why does Chris refer to you as “life-changing”?

    1. I would love to answer your question. Mrs. Hiles passed away several years ago before I ever had the chance to tell her. Yet, another lesson learned. I did get in touch with her daughters, though, and they know. As far as life-changing, don’t know. But Chris is awesome, so I’ll take any compliment he throws my way. Thanks. Amy

  6. Amy, what a neat story… from struggling with school to being a writer and an editor! I think it shows how little we know about people’s talents some times. It’s the whole principle of getting to know them and giving them an opportunity to shine. It’s all those well-known stories about people like Walt Disney being fired for lack of creativity, or Thomas Edison being pulled from school for being unteachable… Sometimes it just takes the right type of leader to find the best way to guide someone and effectively change their life. So glad your story has a great happy ending!

  7. Thanks for sharing your story! The teachers in my life that encouraged me to grow, learn more, give encouragement in words and looks…have been with me in my heart for many years. I wish I was still in contact with many of them!

    Do you feel you fell in love with writing because of the teacher you had that cultivated that in you? Or did you already have a love for that? I am curious as I continue to find what I am passionate about and why.

  8. True Amy! Thanks for sharing this message this morning. In my life, it all started with my dad. He is always there to appreciate and encourage my hard work and strenous effort. Whether I win or lose, he is always there to encourage me with apt words. That has made me a confident man.

  9. Amy – what a great post! And such a reminder to us to SPEAK up with that encouragement to our team, our family, our friends…..what a testimony to what one person can do to totally and radically change another’s life. Thanks for sharing.

  10. Thanks for sharing that Amy. I had a teacher in high school who guided me the most. I got to thank him numerous times over the years. Now, I am on the advisory board for his department.

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