Recently I was reminded of the power of positivity, positive language, and just acknowledgement. I spend my time teaching and practicing Solution Focused Brief Therapy. So I know the power of these things, but I recently saw it in real time and it touched me and I wanna tell you about it. So here’s what happened.
For the first time in my life, I was invited onto a movie set. A big major movie set, like an Avengers level movie set, massive stars, massive production, huge movie set. And I went on this movie set and I was just kind of observing and I learned several things, which I didn’t know. So I learned that they have this thing called base camp.
They don’t put the celebrities where the scene is shot. They have base camp and then they have the set. Base camp is where all the trailers are. It’s where all the celebrities live. It’s where the chefs are cuz they cook and they have this whole tent that’s all dedicated to food, like every food you ever wanted. And they have these runners that run around getting all the celebrities everything that they need. It’s a crazy experience.
And all of this is run by one person at base camp. They’re called the 1st AD (First Assistant Director) or 2nd AD. And at the set there’s another 1st AD or 2nd AD. And these are the people that run the camps. And it’s an incredibly high pressure job. This person, their entire job is to make sure that when the person, the star, on the set, they called them 1, 2, 3. They’re all numbered. So when like one was in hair and makeup, when they came out of hair and makeup, the exact meal that they wanted was ready for them. So it was this constant ameba of moving pieces that one person was solely responsible for.
So I was watching this happen for hours. This person on this set was a female. She can’t miss. If she misses, everyone gets upset with her, and they attack her, and she was just flawless. And I never saw this person sit down. I never saw this person relax. They walked around with a walkie-talkie and a flip chart and just running everything. And this person, she looked young to me and I went and talked to her. She was in her mid thirties, and she blew me away.
So at some point I ran over to her and I said, “You appear to be the single most competent person on the planet because you’re running this thing like an orchestra. And I just want you to know how amazed I am that you have this skill.” That was my genuine experience, my genuine observation, how amazed I was that this person was running the show to the degree that they were doing this. And when I said that the person wept, they actually choked up with tears.
Now I thought maybe I’d done something wrong or maybe I had triggered something or whatever. But shortly after that happened, I got whisked away because I had to go do the thing that I was on the the set to go do. And I didn’t really understand that.
I was on the set for 14 hours, and much later in that experience, I saw that young lady again, and actually approached her to apologize. I was like, “Look, I’m sorry if I said anything rude or inappropriate, or sorry if I triggered you. I didn’t mean to make you emotional.” And she said, “No, no, no. What made me emotional is no one ever acknowledges that I’m doing a good job.” She said, “No one ever says anything to me unless I screw up the coordination, unless I throw off the timing, unless I mess up the production. No one ever says, ‘Good job, thank you. I appreciate you.’ No one ever acknowledges my strengths. This job happens to be one of the most disrespected jobs on a movie set. So most people don’t show me the kind of respect that you showed me. And it made me emotional.”
It made me think about how often we don’t remember that people are people. We don’t remember that everyone needs to hear positive things about themselves and what they’re doing and where they’re landing in this world. We can never forget that people are people and have needs. Say positive things and acknowledge people’s work and effort. And when you do that, you make a difference, not just to them but to yourself as well.
That’s why I love Solution Focused Brief Therapy, because I get to talk to people in a beautiful way and acknowledge their strengths and resources, in their lowest moments. But I also want us to be able to do that across all of our lives, across all of the roles that we play in this world. Because I think it’s the best way we can make this world a better place.