The Gift of Encouragement

"Encouragement offers more potential than cash. The amount of cash is limited, but you have an unlimited supply of encouragement ... encouragement feeds people’s souls."

Kenneth Blanchard

Author: The One Minute Manager

Everyone needs encouragement at one time or another, from the CEO, mother, father, child, or employee, to the professional athlete or performer.

Encouragement means to inspire, incite, foster, or stimulate courage with hope.

As many of us can recall, as children, we sometimes needed encouragement to complete a task. What we can not give to ourselves, we borrow from those around us.

For us as adults, our early situations may have changed but the human condition of needing support has not. At some level, we all need to be encouraged.

Whatever your life purpose and whether your work is in healthcare, education, business, criminal justice, ministry, families, or myriad thousands of other responsibilities, your overall activity should leave others feeling encouraged.

If your life or actions do not include the foundation of encouragement toward others, you need to evaluate how encouragement can become part of your purpose.

Start by giving it away. Encouragement is not something to be saved, collected, or withheld; that approach has little redeeming value. Encouragement is a perishable item best enjoyed in the moment. Once the aircraft has left the ground, an empty seat is a lost opportunity. When you hesitate in offering your encouragement, the opportunity is gone.

A funny thing happens when you encourage others -- you feel encouraged and better about yourself.

Before I encourage each of you reading this article, I want to acknowledge the many encouragements that you as readers have given me.

NEVER, NEVER, NEVER underestimate the power of your encouraging words toward any other person! For example, many people seem to think that successful individuals need less encouragement. Don’t discount the impact you have or can have with everyone you meet. At any given moment, you can make a difference in someone else’s life by encouraging him or her. We need to remind ourselves that while this creates invaluable results, it costs us nothing.

It is important to graciously and thankfully accept encouragement from others. In other words, don’t discount your value or their confidence in you.

Finally, be authentic and intentional in your encouragement. Be real but look for opportunities to encourage others. Make it part of your mindset to encourage someone every single day. Give it away -- your act of encouragement can and will affect millions.

The movie Pay It Forward calculated that three acts of kindness given away by one individual, then repeated by each person down the line daily, would, within two weeks, impact 4,787,969 lives.

Here is my challenge to you: before the end of today, encourage at least three individuals and ask them to do the same for three people each. I guarantee you will feel more confident and better about yourself as you do so.

The Encouragement Challenge

1. Encouragement inspires courage and hope into others.

2. No matter who we are, we all need some level of encouragement.

3. Encouragement is perishable’ at every opportunity give it away -- saving it up has no redeeming value.

4. If you are fulfilling and living your purpose. Others should feel encouraged by you and your actions.

5. Be authentic and be real in your encouragement. If you can’t authentically encourage others, then don’t.

6. Be intentional. Nothing happens by accident. Make encouraging others a part of your mindset; do it every day.

7. Never discount the value your encouragement has to others. No matter who we are or what we do, we all need and appreciate it.

8. Never discount encouragement that is directed toward you from others. Gracefully and thankfully accept it.

9. Take the encouragement challenge. Encourage three individuals every day and ask each of them to do the same to three others.

10. Forward this article to at least three people you care about or who could benefit from reading it.

11. Pay attention to how giving encouragement makes others feel and how it makes you feel. Notice how your feelings of confidence improve because you encouraged others.

12. Remember, it costs nothing and it produces invaluable results.

Until next time, keep "Living on Purpose."

Ken Keis

About the Author
Ken Keis, MBA, CPC, is an internationally known author, speaker, and consultant. He is President and CEO of CRG Consulting Resource Group International, Inc., founded in 1979. Many professionals herald CRG as the Number One global resource center for Personal and Professional Development.

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