DJ Harrington - Fuel for Thought
DJ Harrington – Fuel for Thought

Unfortunately, while reading a note that someone just sent me, I discovered a dear friend of mine has passed away at the early age of 47. His name was Todd Smith. Todd was from Ashford, Alabama. What a wonderful guy he was, besides a great Dad to four children and a good husband who married his high school sweetheart. Todd loved the Lord, and it showed in the way he treated people. I had the privilege of knowing Todd Smith and got some good advice from him. It didn’t take me long to realize Todd had an innate ability of approaching business and life.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow said. “When a great man dies, for years the light he leaves behind him, lies on the paths of men.” This applies to my friend Todd. He had a way of taking hard decisions and making them seem simple. Todd was born with goodness of heart. His genuineness could be seen and felt by those people he helped…Todd was a man after God’s own heart.

Todd would go out of his way to let people know that he or she was a winner. Most likely, there are such people like this in your life today. They may be people you work with, play golf with, or maybe even your own family members who are starving for your approval. They are craving for you to speak some good words over their lives.

You don’t know what it will mean when you affirm them, when you give them your approval, and let them know in no uncertain terms that you are proud of them and you think they will do great things. Everyone needs to be valued. Everyone needs to be appreciated. Every person needs a kind word from you.

Consider these questions. What kind of seeds are you planting within your child or in my case grandchildren? Your spouse? Or that friend on your street? What about your nephew? Do you believe in anyone? Are you taking an interest in others to see how you can make someone else’s life better? Listen to the dreams of others. Remember God gave us two ears and one mouth. Having two ears is really a hint for us because we should do twice the amount of listening than talking. Let them know you are behind them. Give them your approval.

If you talk with any successful people, they will tell you somebody believed in them. Somebody planted a seed and encouraged them when they were down. Somebody helped them get a good break. Somebody spoke faith when they didn’t feel they could do it.

Thomas Edison encouraged Henry Ford. Ford was introduced to Edison as “the man trying to build a car that runs on gasoline.” When Edison heard it, his face brightened up. He hit his fist on the table and said, “You’ve got it. A car that has its own power plant – that’s a brilliant idea!”

Up to that point, no one had encouraged Ford. No one thought it was a good idea. Ford had just about convinced himself to give up, but along came Edison and spoke faith into him. That was the turning point in Henry Ford’s life. Ford said, “I thought I had a good idea, but I started to doubt myself. Then came along one of the greatest minds that ever lived and gave me his complete approval.

That’s what can happen with a simple vote of confidence. We don’t realize the power we hold. We don’t always realize what it means when we tell somebody, “I believe in you! You’ve got what it takes. I’m behind you, 100%.” And really….everyone of us should be someone else’s #1 fan. We should be encouraging them, lifting them when they’ve fallen, celebrating when they succeed, praying when they’re struggling, urging them forward. That is what a people builder does.

When it is my turn to go and be with the Lord, I hope someone says of me, “DJ taught all of us what is really important in life and how in giving a little, you will indeed gain a lot.” Remember, when you are nice to people, you get it all back and then some.

DJ Harrington is an author, journalist, seminar leader, international trainer, and marketing consultant. He works primarily with customer service personnel, and his clients include such world-class companies as General Motors, DuPont, Caterpillar, and Damon Corporation. He can be reached at 800-352-5252 or by e-mail at