Buzzwords are fun. Trendy slang, new and different ways of saying the old. I mean, look at some recent Oxford Dictionary “words of the year.”
- Laughing/face with tears emoji (seriously)
But with all of it, what about the basics? It’s not that we remove basic terms and phrases from our vocabularies, but it does feel like we forget the impact such words can have.
Today’s word: Encouragement.
It’s so wholesome; so positive. I mean, think about how good it feels to encourage someone to do something. And I don’t mean just affirmatively stating “yeah, go ahead” but really digging in and encouraging someone who, at the time, is, well, discouraged.
If you can’t remember what that feels like, perhaps it’s been too long, or maybe you just haven’t been presented with the opportunity. Or maybe, and I’m guilty of this myself, perhaps you aren’t looking hard enough for opportunities to encourage.
Point being, we all have areas of our lives where we wish we could be better. Some of those areas are known and noticeable, but others are sitting just beneath the surface hidden and out of sight.
So here is my challenge:
Encourage someone to do something today.
Make it more obvious to others that YOU need encouragement on those areas you’ve kept hidden beneath the surface.
Why? At the risk of over-exaggerating the point, the world will be better for it. We are all too special and unique to not be encouraged to do those things we're hesitant about for whatever reason.
Benefits of encouragement
That said, if bettering the world is too far of a stretch, and not really something you can get behind, then consider these points below.
Here are the most important benefits of encouragement:
1. Encouragement is invigorating
Very few things are easy. Twists and turns, unforeseen hurdles, etc. Most everything we set out to do can, and most likely will be stymied by challenges big and small. And It’s hard to get moving again from a standstill.
When grinding and digging into a challenge for prolonged periods of time, you start to see diminishing returns; you get more discouraged.
That’s where the benefit of a ”fresh set of eyes” comes in.
Give your goals a fresh set of eyes, and open yourself up to advice and encouragement from others. Or even better, be that fresh set of eyes for someone else, whether it’s your kids, a friend, etc.
2. Encouragement instills confidence
Think about what happens when you get discouraged. A loss of hope; a drained spirit. Discouragement is basically the best way of describing a loss of confidence. “I can’t, I can’t.”
So naturally, a huge benefit of encouragement is that it provides a much-needed confidence injection!
We are typically our own biggest critic. We will cut ourselves down in ways worse than most others could. So, to have someone else come in and encourage us to keep going is an extremely powerful pick-me-up, reminding us that yes, we can.
3. Encouragement provides guidance
The power of encouragement doesn’t all stem from its “pep talk” nature. Meaning, sometimes we are stuck not because we lost confidence and need reinvigoration, but because we simply don’t know how to move forward.
So, encouragement is more than a set of positive words. It’s guidance and feedback. The best encouragement comes from those who are “qualified” to be passing it along. Sure, encouragement can come from anyone, but it seems to be more powerful when coming from an “expert” or authority figure. Thus, these encouragers are more than likely to not only offer positive encouragement, but advice on how to best move forward.
4. Encouragement leads to accomplishment
Let’s not forget the end goal here. You encourage someone to keep going with something so that they ultimately reach their goal and accomplish whatever it is they set out to do in the first place.
From there, who knows what such an accomplishment will lead to. Whatever it is, you can be sure it will be bigger than better than whatever was around the corner of them not accomplishing that thing.
5. Encouragement leads to more encouragement
If you encourage someone to do something, and they listen to that encouragement, act on it, and then accomplish what they set out to do, how much more likely is it that they are going to go out of their way to encourage someone themselves? Period. End of section.
Encouragement changes the world
From the above, is it really that far fetched to see how encouragement can change the world?
Round and round we go, right? Encouragement leads to confidence, which leads to action, which leads to accomplishment, which branches off to more encouragement, and so on.
So again, try and encourage someone today.
On top of that, though, make your goals, and make your struggles known. Open yourself up to receiving encouragement from others and the many benefits that go along with it.