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Successfully Supporting Soka

Education is an integrating process in which students gain an awareness of the interdependence of themselves, others and the environment.” –Soka Values

This is salient in every aspect of my Soka experience, thus far. In the classroom, we learn to evaluate our roles in relation to others and to the world at large. Outside the classroom, Soka, a small institution, is big on community. Being at a small campus, new faces have quickly become familiar faces. These new faces have also become some of our closest comrades through the thick and thin of school. I’ve always considered myself a supportive friend. A couple of weeks ago I came across theories of self-efficacy and the sources that influence self-efficacy. In short, self-efficacy refers to your perceived ability to complete a task. Of the four sources of influence, I found persuasory influence to be of pertinence in our friendship with others. This new piece of knowledge has compelled me to rethink how we can better support our friends. When a friend tells us that she is worried about her upcoming exam, we say “you got this!” When a friend tells us that she is nervous about her job interview, we say “you’ll do great!” While said with the best of intentions and reflect your general belief in her abilities, these affirmations are vague and don’t necessarily give our friend a reason to truly believe that she will do “great” in the interview. Remember, self-efficacy is related to the specific undertaking at hand. What has been found to work is specificity in affirmations as it relates to her strengths. We can also make a connection to a past instance of her success that is relevant to the current task. So how can our words and intentions have the greatest impact and the most value? When our friend tells us she is nervous for an interview, we can build on our already existing sentiment (“you’ll do great!) and add “because I’ve seen you effectively share your passion with others.” This little extra can do a lot in helping us successfully support our fellow Soka women!

*For more information on Self-Efficacy, see the chapter on Albert Bandura in Theories in Educational Psychology: Concise Guide to Meaning and Practice. 

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