It's the little encouragements that have the greatest impact on an individual's future success. In my reading and work with entrepreneurs, I have found that a small word of encouragement becomes the defining moment in the life and career of the truly successful.

Three examples of such encouragement can be found in some famous individuals' lives. These experiences forever impacted them and their self-perception.

Steve Jobs

While reading the biography Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson, I was struck by how Steve Jobs' parents handled what could have been a crushing blow to him in his early years. When Steve Jobs learned he had been adopted, he confronted his parents with the concern that his birth parents didn't want him. His adopted parents created a defining moment in Steve's life by explaining that they had "chosen him".

Steve Jobs lived the rest of his life as "chosen". It was in this space of complete acceptance that his brilliance prospered and the belief that he was "chosen" drove him to amazing success.

Stephen King

Stephen King shares in On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft about the pivotal point in his early childhood and writing career. He had written his first original story and asked his mother to read it. She told him that it was "good enough to be in a book".

Stephen King states "Nothing anyone has said to me since has made me feel any happier." He wrote more four stories and his Mom paid him a quarter for each--representing the first dollar he made in the writing business.

Martha Stewart

Marlo Thomas wrote a book called The Right Words at the Right Time that shares several stories about pivotal moments in famous peoples' lives. One of her stories is from serial entrepreneur and personality, Martha Stewart.

In ninth grade, Martha Stewart was assigned a book report. She chose the difficult book A Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne and felt she would never be able to complete the assignment successfully. When she shared her concern with her father, her father simply told her that she could "do anything that she set her mind to".

That simple decree became the mantra of Martha Stewart's life. She continues to go back to it time and time again as she built her successful career.

My own defining moments have pivoted on the belief that others have had in me. My entrepreneurial passions have been fueled by the desire to prove someone wrong or from the nudge I needed to look at the world differently.

Think through how others words have impacted you and realize that it might very well be what you say that moves someone else to be their very best.

Published on: Jan 20, 2015
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