National Day of Encouragement
“Our chief want is someone who will inspire us to be what we know we could be.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
I am a driven person, and my internal need to do things and do them well is inherent to me and not impacted (usually) by my surroundings or circumstances. Even in a totally un-motivating environment, I like to work hard, and even when the teaching is lackluster, I love to learn!
But there are two external factors that do assist in driving me forward and make that forward progress more pleasant. Those things are encouragement and appreciation. I have written about appreciation before, and I think it is a powerful intrinsic motivator. On my team, I have a couple of high performers who are very motivated by appreciation. They light up at being recognized for their work. And it is a far longer lasting and more productive source of motivation than extrinsic factors.
I think encouragement is equally important, and especially for someone like me, I am like a flower blooming in the springtime when I feel encouraged. I accomplish much more under that sort of positive influence.
I started writing little stories and poetry at a young age, and my dad was always my cheerleader when it came to writing. I don’t think he was ever disappointed that I ended up pursuing a business degree, but I know he definitely thought whatever else I was doing, I should be writing, too. He didn’t just say stuff like that either; he was sincere in his compliments. He believed I was talented in that regard and he didn’t just praise my work but actively encouraged me and pushed me to do it more and do it better.
My oldest sister is one of the fittest people I know. Last year, during my 3rd half marathon race, she ran alongside me, cheering for me and pushing me to help me achieve my goal time; thanks to her, I did it, even though by the end she was having to push me really hard.
Encouragement is defined as “the action of giving someone support, confidence, or hope.” It is an action. It’s not a comment made passively. It is a verb that expresses your sincere belief in someone, and the willingness to take action on their behalf to help them.
Encouragement is not a an uninvolved thing. It is an active interest and investment in someone else’s potential. My sister didn’t just say, “Oh, you got this.” She said, “You can do this, but you are going to need to go faster now.” She didn’t just high five me and wish me well and run her own way, she stayed at my side the whole time and she told me I would make it, but she also didn’t let me slow down. And I am sure for her it was hard to see me struggle and know I was so desperate to be done, but she put in her own effort making sure I made it. Because of her, I ended up finishing over 2 minutes faster than I had hoped.
I have been on the receiving end of great encouragement, and I hope I can take similar action to help others as well. Today is the National Day of Encouragement, and I hope we can all reflect on how we can encourage others today.
If you are reading this, it would be a great encouragement to me if you’d subscribe to this blog! I would be truly honored and appreciate it very much!