This week’s issue of Becoming a Strategic Partner features an essay by Dr. John Maxwell on leading others — specifically leading others out of discouragement.

Dr. Maxwell cites the career path of actor Samuel L. Jackson, who hit bottom personally and professionally before ascending to stardom. His family helped him face and overcome his discouragement, which was the first step in building a successful career. Dr. Maxwell writes:

In leadership, inevitably you will cross paths with someone who is downtrodden. When you do, your encouragement can be a lifeline to save them from spiraling into self-destructive despair. Here’s how you counteract discouragement:

1) Guide Them to the Right Perspective …

2) Connect Them to the Right People …

3) Restore Them With the Right Words …

As a leader, you can help people filter unfounded fears and unwarranted worries from their inner dialogue. After doing so, you have the opportunity to speak affirming and encouraging words that can take the place of negative thoughts. Once people change their thinking, their attitudes and actions eventually follow.

In addition to providing an important lesson on leadership, Jackson’s story is another reason why networking is essential to the human condition: Jackson’s family could not directly provide the help he needed, but they put him in contact with folks who could and encouraged him to follow up with those folks.

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