The power of encouragement changes the world – sometimes in little bits and sometimes in such monumental ways that it literally shifts the course of history. Teachers are little bits of encouragement that change the world. Leaders with a world stage (like Winston Churchill) create monumental shifts. And often it’s the little bits that make the way for the monumental.
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The other day I went through a broken moment – and I mean one of those been run over by a truck, it back up over me, the driver got out and stomped on me, and then he got back in and drove over me one more time kind of broken moments.
Several people reached out to let me talk about the broken moment, but the last thing I needed (or really wanted) was to relieve it. How many times can you experience the truck running over you before you are over it?
Other people reached out with random bits of encouragement – the little bits of jokes or smiles or unrelated memes. One of the little bits was a note I came across from a friend in junior high school. It simply said, “Don’t give up. You will make it. I will, too.”
I carried that note around with me and I shared it with my husband. The friend who had originally written it had been going through her own broken time. My husband encouraged me to send her a copy. She responded to the effort with a little bit of sparkle and her sparkle shimmered my sparkle.
Little by little, the encouragement continued to gather – sometimes through the giving and sometimes through the getting. Before I knew it, I had pulled my broken pieces back together and I was plowing forward with gusto.
Five Ways Encouragement Provides Power
In short, encouragement provides the power.
- First, encouragement gives clear vision.
- Second, encouragement stirs strength.
- Third, encouragement motivates movement.
- Fourth, encouragement builds boldness.
- Finally, encouragement is 100% viral.
We all need encouragement to make it through the day. We definitely need encouragement to get through the broken moments (or to avoid them when possible). We need encouragement to move beyond survival into thrive mode. And embracing the power of encouragement strengthens the foundation of the basics of encouragement we set last week.
No matter how you woke up this morning, a little bit of encouragement will make it better.
First, Encouragement Gives Clear Vision.
Encouragement helps you to see beyond the clouds and if you can’t see your possibilities it’s tough to move towards them. No matter how determined or motivated you are to start, a lack of vision and a lack of CLEAR vision specifically, runs you into a brick wall (or closed door) that will knock the wind out of you.
Out on the farm, we had zero light noise. We had intentionally avoided putting up street lights or anything else that would compete with the wonders of the night sky. Once the lights were turned off in the house, it was dark.
On a clear night, it felt like you could see forever. Many nights were spent out on the deck staring at the night sky. On a cloudy or stormy night, you could barely see your hand in front of your face.
I woke up on one such cloudly night before dawn and before the nearing of dawn. In other words, it was dark outside (and inside because no lights were on yet. I woke up refreshed and determined to take on the day. “I will not go softly into that dark night,” I softly declared as I boldly walked out into the hall.
Or, I should have walked out into the hall. Instead, I slammed face-first into a closed door.
See, that particular door never got closed. NEVER. And yet, on this dark and cloudy night, where there was light for me to see so my vision was darkened, someone had closed the door.
And by someone, I most likely mean me – but that’s not the point.
The point is that I couldn’t see. My vision was darkened.
Encouragement is the little bit of light that allows us to see clearly – or at least to see enough that we don’t go raging right into a closed door. It helps us see beyond the broken moments and past the darkness. Encouragement gives us clarity to see one step in front of us – and one step is all we need to keep going (or to get going). One step is all you need to climb the mountain. One step is all you need to run your race.
Encouragement surrounds us all the time, although we always have to be willing to find it. The heavier the attack or the stronger the storm, the more challenging it becomes to find your encouragement and those are the very times we need it the most because we need to fortify our position so we can stand through the storm.
Second, Encouragement Provides the Strength to Stand
Encouragement stirs the strength for standing up to the battering storms. The broken moment I mentioned earlier, it tried to have a revival performance the other day. It edged its way into my calm and started rocking the boat.
Have you ever tried standing on a boat when it’s bombarded with waves? Or maybe you’ve tried to get off the trampoline when everyone else on there was doing their best to knock you down. Your legs get all wobbly and it’s tough to stand, much less make progress in walking.
That’s where I found myself. But I grasped the encouragement that allowed me to pull myself back together after the original broken moment, and I faced down that attack a little bit at a time.
Little bits have lots of benefits.
We are all uniquely designed on purpose and for a purpose. If I’ve said it once then I’ve said it a hundred times, you are the only you ever made and only you can fulfill your design. Despite having said it so much that my kids’ default to the saying, I still forgot.
When circumstances come crashing in and answers are needed RIGHT NOW, you are stuck on the trampoline with everyone trying to bounce you off.
The year of intentional has helped me embrace my uniqueness again. The focus folder made way for me to unlock my heartseed and give it what it needs to flourish. The more I fed my heartseed, the stronger I became.
So the other day, when when the waves came crashing in, I used the heartseed focus to hold on.
See, I was in one of those “I need an answer RIGHT NOW” predicaments and it just so happens I came across someone online selling magic beans. And not just any ole magic beans, but the very beans I needed to make all my dreams come true.
The seller offered no guarantees, other than he would continue providing the magic beans until I made them grow. And what did I need to go to make this endless supply of magic beans grow? Well, I simply had to change all of my focus and follow his pipe music.
I almost did.
Were it not for people around me encouraging me in my uniqueness and feeding my heartseed, I probably would have. I did in the past. And following the magic bean pipe musician is part of the reason I haven’t given full flight to my dreams.
But the encouragement around me helped me to stand strong. The words of others became my lifeline in the “RIGHT NOW” moment of my storm.
There have been plenty of times when encouragement has gotten me through the big storms. Encouragement has provided a lifeline to drag me out of the possible pitfalls. Encouragement has fueled my need to be an encouragement. Always, encouragement is the extra I’ve needed to have the strength to stand.
It’s not easy to keep your head when you are in the middle of the storm. It’s dark. It’s loud. It’s flashing bits of danger all around you. But encouragement makes it a little easier to maintain the necessary calm so you can keep going.
Third, Encouragement Motivates Movement
Encouragement motivates the ability to move by feeding the heart the courage it needs to take action and to stay flexible.
My dad tells a story from when I was little. He asked me how my day went at school and I responded with “I sort of got into trouble.” Of course, he had to know how someone sort of gets into trouble.
“Well. They had a fire drill at school today. Only, I didn’t know it was a drill. So when we were told to line up in a straight line, I bounded over the table and headed for the door.”
Too often, crises and chaos drive us to bound over the table and head for the door. Instead of calmly following directions and walking down our planned path, we’re leaping and pushing and running frantically around. It may seem necessary in the moment, but calmer minds would tell us differently. If only we could have the calmer minds.
Encouragement provides the extra boost of calm we need to stay in line or at least to stay on our path. It also gives us the flexibility to go with the flow – still focused on our BIG DREAMS but flexible in the way we get there. Encouragement allows us to practice focused flexibility with calm resolve.
In 2020, I had a plan. It was a good plan. It took all of my quiet time and utilized it for podcasting and writing. The world did not cooperate with my plan. Pretty soon, I had my husband and son home for the quarantine, which meant all of my quiet time was not invaded.
The people around me, including my husband and son, encouraged me and that encouragement helped me shift my plan to keep me moving toward my focus. And then a tornado caused more changes, followed by living in a motel, followed by several rentals, followed by more excuses than you could shake a stick at.
I had two years worth of storms to keep me off balance, but encouragement helped me find a way to be flexible in the middle of all the unsettledness so I could continue moving towards my BIG DREAM goals.
Encouragement has the power to boost the heart in the uncertain moments so you can be flexible enough to continue moving even in the storm. Encouragement has the power to restore the calm by fueling the heart with courage.
The power of encouragement takes your journey to the next level. It elevates you to new possibilities and dares the dream to dream even more.
In short, encouragement gives you the imagination to step beyond where you are right now.
Fourth, Encouragement Builds Boldness
Encouragement fills the heart with the willingness and the courage to clear out of the comfort zone. It helps you move, even just a little bit, from where you are toward where you want to be.
I can count on my hand the few times in my life where I’ve felt confident about my appearance. My focus stayed on what was wrong and rarely embraced what was right. Comparison syndrome plagued me.
After three kids, the condition only grew until it encompassed me in a cocoon of avoidance. I didn’t go and do things because I didn’t want to be seen.
It’s easy to hide when you live in the woods.
Again, it was 2020 that forced a change. The new locations where we found ourselves living were surrounded by people. I couldn’t walk the dog without having several conversations.
Still, I continued to try and hide. I wasn’t where I needed to be so I didn’t want to be seen.
But I was seen. I couldn’t avoid it. And people would compliment me on my consistency of actions. More people reached out to do things. I started being more open to engagement.
When I determined to be intentional at the start of the year, things really began to get interesting. Since my husband and I had always enjoyed dancing together, I found a West Coast swing group that had beginner classes each Monday before a social dance.
The first several weeks were painful. I still didn’t want to be seen. I wanted to be smaller, or better, or something not me in the moment. My intentional declaration pushed me to keep going.
I began to focus on my husband’s smile as we danced. I engaged with others their learning and their joy-filled laughter and fun encouraged me to keep going.
I gathered these encouragement moments like a bouquet of flowers, each one adding to the boldness to do more and be more. The boldness began to pour out over into the rest of my day and week. It allowed me – no it DARED me – to look at what I could do instead of staying locked up in regrets of what I believed I couldn’t do.
Encouragement doesn’t have to be big to be powerful. The little bits of encouragement gathered up like flowers in a bouquet, gave me the boldness to step outside of my comfort zone so I became positioned to begin building something amazing.
The more I enjoyed dancing, the more my husband enjoyed dancing. The more my husband enjoyed dancing, the more I enjoyed dancing. We laughed. We talked. We engaged with others. We built more moments of joy.
The encouragement and joy spread out from our dance night into the next day. It started building up the day before we went dancing. The encouragement boost began spreading out – not only to our other days but also to people we encountered.
Finally, Encouragement is 100% Viral
Encouragement catches and spreads faster than you can realize you have encouragement to share. And before you know it, that encouragement comes back on you.
My list of favorite past times doesn’t include fishing. On my list of activities, I could enjoy doing, it barely makes a showing. The only reason it does is because of the memories of rainy days at the boathouse spent fishing for brim with a cane pole.
I can fish. I know enough of the fundamentals so that if it came down to starving or fishing, I could fish.
But I’m not volunteering for the sport short of the catastrophic reasons.
A few months back, I had the opportunity to work with the Major League Fishing Angler Association. To say these folks were passionate about fishing would be the understatement of the year. They enthusiastically talked tackle, boats, equipment, and techniques . . . ALL THE TIME!
On more than one occasion, I came out of the enthusiastic conversations with the encouragement to tackle (get it) our fishing equipment. I was going to go fishing.
Fortunately, the encouragement wore off before I got down the steps to the room where the fishing equipment was stored. Still, their encouragement almost pushed me to go fishing.
Which proves two things:
- Encouragement is catching. When you are around it, you will get infected.
- Encouragement outside of true passion or desire fades quickly.
The encouragement from our dancing had the residual effects that poured into the days around it. That same encouragement infected others we encountered. The joy and passion were there to keep the encouragement growing and going.
The encouragement from the anglers, although just as powerful and enthusiastic as the dancing, faded because I had no desire to go fishing.
Did I mention I’m not very fond of fishing?
Still, encouragement is powerful enough that it can drive a person not very fond of fishing to want to go fishing. Imagine what happens when you apply that power of encouragement to your heartseed.