Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Encouragement: A Planning Vitamin


How often do you feel like you're just paddling in still water?  Using up loads of energy, but not getting anything for it?  

Have you ever seen one of those little mechanical horses out in front of a discount store?  Children  can pop in a coin, then climb aboard the horse and ride, ride, ride while music plays.  But, no matter how long they ride the horse, when the time runs out, they're still in the same place as when they started.  

They've ridden a long time, but made no progress.

Do you ever feel like that?

I do.

So, what's the antidote?

Recently, I was feeling a bit unproductive--and the more I thought about it, the more unproductive I became.  I felt myself slipping into a feeling of depression, actually.  I wanted to shake it all off and move forward, but somehow, I just couldn't jump free of the grasp that feeling had upon me.  The clock kept ticking, but I wasn't making progress.  Then, it happened.

My cell phone rang.  The caller was a dear friend, Kristi Brown, who was calling just to see how things were going.  After we had our usual "hello" exchanges, she immediately began telling me how proud of me she is, because she knows I am accomplishing so much.  What on earth was she thinking?  She couldn't have known that I needed that call.  Yet, there she was, encouraging me and telling me the exact things I needed to hear so I could realize how much I was capable of accomplishing.

Encouragement!  That was the precise vitamin I needed.  And, it didn't take her but just a couple of minutes.  However, it made all the difference in my day.

Before the call was even over, I had risen from my chair and had begun organizing some materials on which I had needed to be working.

When we hung up our phones, I was like a windstorm.  I believe I accomplished more that day than I had the entire previous week!  What made the difference?

For me, it was someone else taking a few moments of their time and giving me a positive word.  She was telling me, perhaps in different words, that she believed in me and knew I was capable of making a significant, positive difference in the world.  She told me of ways I have meant a great deal to her.  She reminded me of impact I have had upon others' lives.  I didn't even have to tell her that I was in a "funk," because there was neither time nor need for that.

Her actions turned my day around.  Kristi's simple act moved me from apathy to activism -- from complacency to achievement.

Think of the other people on your team.  Are they achieving at the levels you wish?  At levels they wish?  Are they tired?  Or, are they losing focus of the project?  Are they becoming distracted?  Is their participation waning?  Perhaps, they are still working hard and seem to be productive team members, but they just need a little boost from someone else who can help them understand that their efforts are valued and are of great benefit to the team momentum.

You need to give someone that little push -- that little "lift" -- that can make all the difference.

Now, what can we learn from this?

I encourage you -- right now!  Actually, I encourage you to think of someone who means a great deal to you, then contact that person and thank them for what they mean in your life.  Send them the gift of encouragement.  You don't have to wait in long lines, run up charges on your credit card, or worry about the color of the gift wrap.  Just contact someone today.  Share with that friend your personal gift of encouragement.

See what a difference it makes in not only the life of the other person, but also in yours!

I encourage you to take action!

Let me know what happens.  OK?