The Impact of Those Who Encourage Others Without Reservation

I would not be where I am in my career without my mother. No other person has invested themselves into my success the way that she has. Her encouragement, feedback, tough love, pep talks and faith in my abilities has absolutely gotten me where I am today. For everything I have achieved she deserves a little of that credit.

(I'd add here that my mother's general influence on my life has been significant. She is an amazing leader, a workhorse, a powerhouse of energy, a beacon of integrity, and has set a tremendous example for me in so many ways by just watching her. However, she personal investment in my career as an encouraging force has only added to all of the above.)

I would not have achieved what I did in my academic endeavors without that teacher from my old high school in Edmonton. She took me aside and took a personal interest in me and told me not only that she could help me overcome my struggles in math but turn me into a confident student. She invested time and encouraging words into me, and I went on to essentially dominate every math class in my nine years of university - and not only that, she built within me a confidence about my potential that I don't think I ever would have found without her.

My best friend and my sisters were very encouraging of me when I was writing and compiling the poetry for my books. They proofread and offered feedback, made suggestions, inspired me with ideas, and when the books were out they read them (my one sister read my book outloud to her husband!). There are few things in this world I am as proud of as my books, and I don't know if I would have had them come out so well without the support I received.

And in my fitness journey (which has literally been ongoing for over fifteen years), I have had many cheerleaders. My sister is one, who has literally hung back to run half marathons with me so I would have her support throughout. I have friends, especially some really strong women in my life, who have pushed and encouraged me to embrace both my strength and femininity. I have had men (including my brother) encourage me about my strength and my general fitness in a way that has made me push harder.

I have always been a "goal getter" as I like to say, and I can hardly think of a time that I made up my mind to do something and I didn't succeed. But in every instance, I was encouraged by someone who took an interest in me. My successes are very much a credit to them.

And perhaps it is a weakness to admit it, but I am always keenly aware of the people who skip over the opportunity to encourage me. The ones who like when I post pictures of my dogs on social media but refuse to encourage or like the photos of my fitness journey, or my professional achievements. I have made it my purpose to encourage the people in my circle to push toward their goals and dreams, even if those dreams don't make any sense to me. I will never be the one to extinguish someone's fire. There is so much negativity in the world, so much hate, so much indifference, and I will always be someone who makes the investment - and I cherish the people in my life who have made that investment in me.