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January 19, 2017

Five Words That People in Your Life Need to Hear

After having our first son, Carter, I hit a low point. To be honest, most of the first six weeks after having my child seemed like one big low point. From the terrifying emergency cesarean-section delivery, to a trip back...

After having our first son, Carter, I hit a low point.

To be honest, most of the first six weeks after having my child seemed like one big low point. From the terrifying emergency cesarean-section delivery, to a trip back to the emergency room two days after finally being discharged, to fighting infections and the complete nightmare that nursing turned out to be for us, it was all a really difficult blur.

But there was one night that I remember vividly for some reason.

It was 3 a.m. and I was in the nursery rocking my screaming son in the glider. When my husband heard crying on the monitor and realized it was not one, but two voices crying out, he jumped up to see what was wrong. He ran into the nursery and found me sobbing along with my son, crying a deep and desperate cry of defeat with the last bit of energy I had. When he could see that no one was hurt but I was at the end of everything I had, he stood in the doorway, looked at me with both a sweetness and sternness in his voice, and said just five words.

You’re doing a good job.

I cried harder because I wanted so bad for that to be true as he said them again and again—with the same certainty.

You’re doing a good job.

You’re doing a good job.

That was a truth I so desperately wanted to believe—especially when becoming a new parent seems to send you grasping for straws of confidence anywhere you can find them. And as he looked into my eyes and said those words, I allowed myself to believe him. I felt my body relax into that truth.

His words weren’t profound or particularly sweet. If anything, they were simply practical. But those words were the exact thing, maybe the only thing, that I needed to hear in that moment.

And the moments didn’t end there. Weeks later, we found out that my dog had lost 18 pounds from refusing to eat and had life-threatening liver damage. Every day, I tried to get him to eat anything (dry dog food, stinky canned food, peanut butter, deli meat, hot dogs and treats), and he was refusing all of it. With every refused meal or spit-out pill, I felt like I was failing him.

After my 47th failed attempt to get him to take his medicine—medicine that was our only hope to save his life—I was at the end of my rope. I grabbed the kitchen counter to steady myself from the frustration and unbearable sadness, and Matt wrapped his arms around me and said those words again.

You’re doing a good job.

And again, they were water to my soul. I needed them.

Later, when I was on the radio show live with Dave at the EntreLeadership Summit, I realized that I’m not the only one that needs to hear those words. As we were talking about the struggle of being a parent and running a business, I reminded the audience and listeners to not be sorry for the struggle. When your kids struggle with you, they develop the resilience and persistence and character that they need to succeed in this world.

And then I looked at the audience members and said those words with the same sincerity as my husband, “You’re doing a good job.

In a room of 700 people, I swear you could hear an audible sigh of relief. The entire room relaxed.

Because whether it’s a low point or just a hard week of defeat, most people carry around the heavy and exhausting belief every day that they aren’t enough.

You’re doing a good job, friend.

You’re doing a good job.

Those words aren’t fancy or catchy or clever, and you probably won’t find them on any Hallmark card.

But they may just be some of the most life-giving words you can say to someone today.

***

Want more from Christy? Check out her Business Boutique podcast! Every other week, she delivers inspiring and thought-provoking messages on time management, overcoming fear, goal setting and more.

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Leave a Comment

  1. Carter says:

    Truer words were never spoken. I’m a mom of little ones and I work full time and am programmed to do it all – perfectly – and make it look easy. (I’m shaking my head as I write this, knowing how ridiculous it sounds, but that it’s true for me.) So those moments of defeat are particularly crushing. Matt is right. You ARE doing a good job. Don’t forget it and don’t let your mind convince you otherwise. Strength is developed in moments where we feel weakest! The fact that you can reflect so honestly about this is a sign of that strength! Hang in there. 🙂

  2. I am not a Mom but that does seem like something man or woman could stand to hear more. I know when those words came from my boss yesterday, it landed on me though I tried to brush it off as he daily appreciates the work I do, the hearing of those words meant a lot. Thank you for sharing this post, I hope it leads others to say it to the people who they love and respect.

  3. Karen says:

    I’m a mom to grown children now and one young granddaughter. Those are words that I would never get tired of hearing – except that I never do…maybe they’re just spoken in other words, I’m not sure. But, yes, they are water to the soul when you’re doing all you can and it never seems to be enough – or when you’re not seeing the fruits of your labor the way you had hoped. Thanks for the reminder for us all!!

  4. Nicole says:

    When I read this blog I felt that I could have wrote it. Your story is also mine from the labor, emergency room, infection to the defeat. Your husband is a very loving man to see what you needed in that most trying time. I feel that the guilt of motherhood starts the day you get pregnant. “Am I eating right?” “Am I going to do this right?” To the labor when all craziness sets in. To caring for your bundle of joy and that guilt is daily. “Have I spent enough time with them?” “Are they eating?” “Are they safe?” To have someone tell you you are doing a good job are words you need to hear because it is hard to.see past the guilt.

  5. Rachel Nielson says:

    Hi, Christy! I am an editor with Power of Moms, and I just listened to your Mom Conference interview with April Perry. I would like to feature this article as a Power of Moms Pick on our website on Friday. We will quote an excerpt and then link to your site for our readers to see the full story, if they are interested. I will use your feature image with a caption that it is yours. I know how busy you are, so no need to respond unless this is NOT okay with you. Thanks for being such a positive voice for mothers and sharing your wisdom with the Mom Conference!

  6. Jessica Moran says:

    Thank you so much for being so brave and sharing your heart. This is what I needed today. Surgeries, house floods, disobedient children……..the list goes on and on. I needed this and I thank you!

  7. Brenda says:

    Several years back as a busy mom of four trying to do it all, one of the ladies at church, just making conversation, asked me if I was keeping all my plates spinning. Hurried and harried, I replied rather curtly, “No!” Her next words have stayed with me. “Good! Let them fall!” I don’t have to keep every plate spinning for everyone, “No” is a complete sentence, and I don’t have to do EVERYTHING perfectly to still do a good job. Thanks for the reminder!

  8. Kristi says:

    I’m a mother of five, four in college and one still in school. These words are still so imperative to hear as kids grow up! It gets harder as parent’s influence seems less and the world’s influence increases. We try to guide them through all the craziness of life and do the best we can. We need to hear it as parents, and the kids absolutely need to hear it too!

  9. Caty W. says:

    I so needed to read this today!!! I am on the verge of crying because my three small kiddos have been screaming – one at a time or all together – all morning! And Hubby has been out of the state since Sunday night…. I’m at the end of my rope! So thank you for this life-giving post! I find it so easy to discount so many times, but I am making the choice right now to believe it – and let my soul breathe! ? Thank you!!!!!

  10. Jessica says:

    Thank you for sharing your journey! It’s good to know I’m not alone in the parenting struggle. Just had my second and while it’s easier in some ways it’s still hard. Bless you!!

  11. Barb Kenley says:

    What a wonderful way to affirm the people all around us! It’s early enough in the New Year…why not purpose in your heart to say those words to someone at least once a day in 2017?

  12. Jamie Bates says:

    I started a new job in December. I came from a job where I had been there for 18 years. I was gut-wrenching scared. Today I was talking to my boss explaining how I had misunderstood his instructions and I was profusely apologizing and totally embarrassed. I don’t know why I was embarrassed but I was. He looked at me and said, “You are still learning and you are doing a good job, Jamie.” I promise, if I didn’t think he and I would both be embarrassed, I would have burst out crying. Fortunate for him, I waited until I got back to my desk and burst out crying.

  13. Cassandra O'Keefe says:

    Yesss!!!! From home to the workplace- these words carry wealth in them!!
    A single mom of 3… I hear this from my oldest son who is only 16… makes me stand up straighter and I always feel like my “cup” just got filled. Say it… say it often…it will fill someone with that encouragement they so desperately need.
    GREAT ARTICLE CHRISTY!!

  14. Annie Gant says:

    The emotional struggle I’m feeling at 63-newly retired after working since age 14-and shortly after ending a late-in-life relationship that promised much but became a nightmare-seems so big. The sadness and overwhelm is haunting both day and night. Your blog reminded me that there’s a beginning and an end to these feelings. It is a message of hope. Thank you.

  15. Matt says:

    I can’t tell you how many times I’ve said those words to my wife when she tries to take care of our now 17-month old son. I know they don’t completely change the situation, but they reassured my wife that she’s doing her best, and the rest is in God’s hands.

  16. Brenda S. says:

    So what I needed to hear today. These words are not just important for a new mom (which I have never been), but for a daughter of a caregiver, who doubts daily if she is making the best decisions for an elderly parent….Always questioning myself and if I am doing a good job. Every person (soul) needs more positive encouragement. I am going to try to remember to say and do this every day to others….thank you.

  17. JACQUELYN says:

    Tears run down my cheeks as I read this articles and others. I’m soon to be engaged and pushing forward in my career at a fast paced financial institution. There are two or three things I look to do one day and trying to roll the ball forward towards them as doors have been opening. I’m constantly seeing the negative in all my work and trying to pick out positive things to help encourage myself. Fatigue is something I’ve never had to fight before…or at least not like I do now. Learning to rest in the fact that I’ve given my best and God will take care of the rest is exactly what I need to do. Thank you for the encouragement and inspiration. If the Lord is willing for me to, I will start my own blog and resume writing consultant business.
    Thank you again and keep up the good work!

  18. Profile photo of VioletJAM VioletJAM says:

    Wow, this is so powerful. I just launched my Etsy site and I’ve got an almost 2 year old and I’ll be having my second son in May and I have been so nervous about making it all work. It’s so comforting to know that even when everything won’t be done perfectly that it’s ok and the imperfections are where we and our kids get our strength from. So good! Thank you for sharing.

  19. Deborah Martin says:

    Been discovering you as a person for a little while, listening to your podcasts and other things. It is hard to deal with motherhood and business and careers. No one can do everything. Make sure you life is focused on God’s Will and not the world’s idea of success. Figure out you balance. You already have a lot of resources, blessings and experiences, so be sure to keep your priorities godly. Peace seems to come early when we find that special place God has for us. We don’t have to compare ourselves with others… we are in the middle of God’s Will.

  20. Deborah Martin says:

    Been discovering you as a person for a little while, listening to your podcasts and other things. It is hard to deal with motherhood and business and careers. No one can do everything. Make sure you life is focused on God’s Will and not the world’s idea of success. Figure out you balance. You already have a lot of resources, blessings and experiences, so be sure to keep your priorities godly. Peace seems to come early when we find that special place God has for us. We don’t have to compare ourselves with others… we are in the middle of God’s Will.