Someone once said, “People are like sticks of dynamite. The power is on the inside, but nothing happens until the fuse gets lit.” And that fuse is the heart.
Deep inside we all want people in our lives who will help to make us all we can be. You can be that person for the members of your team. Providing timely encouragement, recognition and support will help to light the fuse... and, in many instances, unleash their emotional energy.
Recently I read a story by Tom Mathews about a young man who played for the legendary Alabama football coach, Bear Bryant.
Bear had a third stringer on this team named Henry Peterson. Henry had never gotten to play, and just before the Alabama-Auburn Game, Bryant got a call from Henry. He said, “Coach, my dad died and I won't be able to make it to the game on Saturday.”
Bear said, “No problem, son, you should be with your family.”
However, the next day Bear got another call from Henry, and he said, “Coach, I got to thinking about it and I don't want to let the team down. I'm going to be there.” Sure enough on Saturday, Henry was dressed and ready to play.
Just before the game he walked over to the Bear and said, “Coach, I want you to start me today.”
Bear said, “Son, are you nuts? This is the Alabama-Auburn game, and you've never played.” Well, Henry persisted, and Bryant, never knowing why, said, “Okay, I'll put you in on the first play.”
Henry Peterson scored three touchdowns in the first half... he almost beat Auburn by himself. Bear, at halftime, walked over and said, “Son, I don't know whether to kiss you or kill you. Why haven't you shown me you can play football like that?”
Henry said, “Coach, did you ever see me walking around the campus with my dad?”
Bear said, “Yes, I have seen you.”
Henry then said, “Coach, my dad was blind and today is the first day he ever got to watch me play football.”
The final line in this story was: “As a leader, you can never underestimate the power of emotional energy.” I would like to change the word “leader” to “writer.” Let that statement be a watchword for writing dynamic works.
As a writer, you can never underestimate the power of emotional energy--especially when you aim for the heart.