Deb Sofield


The Power of a Nudge

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I don’t about you – but I sometimes struggle to get moving on projects, book writing, speech writing, and radio show writing you name it and I’m usually dragging myself to get it done…

What’s odd it’s not that I don’t want to do it but I find so many other “worthy” things to do instead of my work…like clean the house, vacuum my car, read my emails, do my laundry (I’m odd like that) but I still have to get to it – I still have a responsibility to my editor, my team and others to do my work… so sometimes even I need a nudge…

I like that word – nudge – it sounds funny – and the spelling doesn’t look correct – but the concept is powerful.

So, I found this great article by Rebecca Clark of Nudge Village – that resonated with me and I wanted to share parts of it because maybe you’re a lot like me and you, “need a nudge”

By the way it’s a great website that has a lot of good ideas about how to get going…

So here we go…Have you ever had a family member, a friend, a co-worker, or even someone you barely know make a suggestion or comment that made a huge difference in your life? It may have been a simple remark, but it had a lasting impact on choices you made going forward.

We call these “nudges.”

These little ideas, comments, and suggestions have the power to increase our self-confidence, encourage us to change direction in our lives, educate us on new possibilities, and instigate a new business, adventure or idea.

How can small, seemingly unimportant interactions hold this much power in our lives?

I think the power of a nudge is this…instinctively we know what we could or should do we just need a validation of it…someone on the outside who sees what perhaps we don’t, and they offer this “nudge” to help us move along…

Now a lot of people offer nudges some good some not so good – so you have to know where you stand and be willing to accept it or reject it according to what is best for you…

Years ago I had an offer to go to Vietnam for an extended time – I really wasn’t enthused to go – I know that sounds odd but at that time I was very busy and had a lot on my plate to just up and leave town to tour the world with 7 people I didn’t know… it was at that time I had a friend who nudged me and said – Deb, hello where is your head – you’ll still have the work to do when you come home but this opportunity is once in a lifetime so start packing…

I accepted her nudge because I trusted her opinion. I also knew that she knew of my heart’s desire to travel the world and see things – eat things – do things that others usually don’t get to do.

And speaking of eating things – just a quick aside – I was with a political delegation and we dined at some very nice places… and at one dinner I noticed the offering didn’t look like anything I had ever seen on a dinner table…now by this time I was pretty sick of eating fish for every meal (I’m not a big fish eater unless it is Long John Silvers – which I’m not sure is really fish but tastes good) so I was down to rice with some vegetables and a few other things by this time on the trip… so I politely asked what is this interesting dish – Oh! my host said, Ms. Deb this is a specialty – this is the webbing of ducks feet…yeah…not going to happen… it was a translucent congealed duck foot shape in a sauce…so I smiled and had another gi-oal (like an egg role) I could not do that…

Sufficient to say – food choices and all – I am very glad I went – it was a wonderful experience and I had the added benefit of seeing –where my parents apartment was when they lived in Saigon (now called Ho Chi Min city) for a time due to my dad’s job… is was a grand adventure and I went because of a nudge…

Back to the online article – The act of accepting a nudge is important. But what may be even more important is taking the time to become “a nudger.” Don’t you love that word – Sharing small tips that might help a friend, suggesting that someone ask for that raise, and expressing confidence that a person will be able to attempt and achieve a goal.

Sometimes it is just to be helpful and sometimes we will truly be inspired to say something that will help someone completely change direction in their job, their friendships, and life goals.

We all have the power to nudge and be nudged. It gets easier with practice and as we become more aware of these interactions, we also start to notice when we might be unintentionally nudging people in the wrong direction or becoming a detriment to their growth. But those moments will be rare.

So, friends – Try nudging someone today. You’ll see the power of a nudge. It might change you too…

I liked that article by Rebecca Clark of Nudge Village added with my own stories thrown in…for good measure.

I think I get nudged a lot more than I know – problem is sometimes I don’t really comprehend the gentle touch… and it’s not just because I’m hard headed (although that’s embarrassingly true) but because I bump up against the wall so much I’m not sure when I’ve hit the wall or have been nudged into action.

So, I’ve had to slow down just a bit to become more aware of my surroundings… kind of like getting in touch with my intuition and gut and allowing it to speak to me and not ignoring the warnings or the good ideas…

And that is probably the same for many of you … life is hard and you get batted about by work, family and friends and at the end of the day – if anyone touches you – it could be a bad day for themshould you be so inclined – let me encourage you to notice the nudges – the gentle thoughts that fill your mind (when you’re not really thinking about anything) or the words from others (who have your best interest at heart) the reality is sometimes those words – said in kindness might hurt but sometimes they are a cool drink of water on a hot day…

Many years ago I had a friend (we’re still friendly) and I was the one who was selected to say something to her about her drinking problem… and how many of us had noticed that it was getting out of hand and she was driving impaired and that was wrong and certainly not fair to the innocent one who might be on the road when she was driving and that we were worried about her – her family – her reputation – her job and frankly her life… obviously not an easy conversation but I had a responsibility to nudge her into a conversation about her truth because the consequences would have damaged her for life…now you know why we don’t see each other that much… even though that was hard – and it did cause a break – I decided I’d rather nudge a causal friendship than go to her funeral or give her eulogy…my nudge was well taken at the time – in tears and promises to get help – but over time embarrassment took over and she drifted away.

What I like about the concept of a nudge is that it doesn’t have to be a long drawn out conversation… as with my friend – I had invited her to lunch and we had a great time and as we were leaving I mentioned that I needed to say one more thing – and I had planned to do it in the parking lot so she had an escape that was easy so as not to cause any more embarrassment then the situation already did.

I tell you that story to simply say that sometimes we need to step up and nudge those we care about to get on right track, nudge them to see the truth (no matter how hard it is) nudge them to walk away if someone is causing them harm… See the power of a nudge could save a life. It could also give someone the freedom to live the life they’ve imagined – to do what they were born to do…

Nudges are given all the time. But, sadly not all are followed…

It’s been said that a nudge is: A whisper of confidence. A suggestion to pursue a different path. A recommendation. A simple act of gratitude.

Trying nudging someone you care about again…today

Deb Sofield

Deb Sofield is a Keynote Speaker, Author of the book, Speak without Fear – Rock Star Presentation Skills to get People to Hear What You Say and Encouragement For Your Life ~ Tough Love Memos to Help You Fight Your Battles and Change the World, Radio Talk Show Host in the Salem Network, Podcaster and President of her own Executive Speech Coaching Co., which trains women and men for success in speaking, crisis communications, presentation skills, media and message development in the U.S. and abroad.

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