Reading time: 4 minutes
I love this Encourager series. You get to meet or re-greet amazing wonderful beings who shine their light so brightly for the rest of us that we’re always bathed in brilliance.
Let’s give a great big welcome to today’s guest ~ the dazzling Vidya Sury.
I am delighted to be here, Elle! Thank you!
One kind word of encouragement, one smile and one hug at the right time can be life-changing. I am always amazed at how it takes so little to put a smile on someone’s face and raise their spirits.
“Yelling at living things does tend to kill the spirit in them. Sticks and stones may break our bones, but words will break our hearts.” Robert Fulghum
So true. Let me share an inspiring story with you.
As a group of frogs traveled through the woods, two of them fell into a deep pit. The other frogs peeked in and told these two that they were as good as dead as it was impossible to come out. Ignoring the discouragement, these two frogs tried to jump out any way. A while later, one of the frogs, lost its spirit in the constant discouragement and gave up…and died. The second frog kept on jumping. The more the others commented, the harder he tried. Finally, he jumped out!
“Didn’t you hear us?” asked the frogs.
“I am a little deaf. I thought you were cheering me on”, answered the frog.
Moral of the story? Yes! Encouraging words can make the difference between life and death, success and failure. They can go a very long way, influencing the individual for years to come.
An encouraging word steered my career
I used to have a boss who literally changed my life. He made me believe I could do anything. He made me feel I was the best. From being nervous about whether sales/marketing was the right career for me, I became a big achiever in that organization.
What he did was simple. Each day when we returned from our day on the field, he would sit us down and intently listen to our experiences, praising us far more than we needed to be with even minor victories. He helped us analyze what went wrong and how we could avoid it in future. He would make us recall all our achievements in minute detail – what a surge of endorphins that was! And we would go out, walking on air! To this day, I am grateful for this “therapeutic process” and practice it with others, too. In fact, I was so taken up with making people feel good, I progressed into being a Sales Trainer specializing in positive communication. All because of the reinforcement I received.
“People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” Maya Angelou
Giving the gift of encouragement
I am lucky I was raised by my Mom who always assured me I was good enough and had the choice to feel good, or otherwise. This inspirational message is my motto. Her words, “Be kind, be loving, keep smiling” still ring in my ears. There are times when we don’t feel like, but doing it anyway definitely helps. She had a huge sense of humor and never allowed me to dwell over an unpleasant experience or negative emotion after I talked about it. She pushed me to purge it out of my system and spend my precious energy on productive activities.
I strongly believe in life’s balance. While I had an unusual family situation, I was lucky to grow up with my Grandma, a remarkable person and the epitome of serenity. When I had doubts about my ability, she would say softly, “Of course you can do it” and this helped me sail through most situations, as long as I did not let my inner critic take over.
My friends were no less – I am always grateful to them for helping me build my self-confidence with their constant “Yes, you can! We know you can do it! Go for it!” I’ve known some of them for over 40 years now, which is saying a lot, considering I am going to say hello to the big five-o tomorrow.
Positive reinforcement brings big benefits to the giver and the recipient. Some I can think of right away, are:
- It keeps us going, making us achieve things we would not have thought possible on our own
- Makes you feel better
- Everyone needs someone – I have my friends, family and peers
- We have the power to empower others – just a kind word, a touch, a smile can transform someone’s life!
- Dissolves self-doubt
- It makes a difference between life and death, as we saw from the story of the frogs. I know of people who were suicidal, but let go of the idea thanks to an encourager.
- Builds self-esteem
- You start loving yourself more
Let me share a few ways to encourage others
- When I notice something nice, I mention it. I like being descriptive, specifying what I liked.
- When I introduce people, after the name exchange, I say something nice about them. “This is Elle Sommer. She’s an amazing writer and her blog posts are so motivating they make my day!”
- When I receive great service from someone, I let the establishment know…at the restaurant, at the office.
- When I hear a great suggestion, I acknowledge and let the person know how it helped.
- When I get together with a group of coworkers/friends/family, I remember to praise something they did and let everyone know. Group cheer is great!
- I avoid talking down to people. I prefer to talk UP to them. Not “Oh, I should have known you would (nasty stuff)” Instead “You probably know this, but may I suggest you …”
- I am kind when I see someone feeling low. I say something nice. If they attempted something and didn’t get the result they wanted, I praise their effort.
- I say thanks whenever I can. You’ve no idea how it can boost someone’s spirits. This includes the lift operator, the security guard, the plumber, the guy at the ticket counter, the bus driver… and everyone else we take for granted.
I really could go on and on…but you know what I mean.
It is easy to praise someone who feels low by reminding them of how well they did something, automatically motivating them to do their best, because now they believe they “can”.
Guess what? When you practice this, your actions might inspire others to do the same. How rewarding is that!
Go ahead. Change the world. Make a difference in someone’s life. Live a life of purpose. You know you can.
Now, I have an invitation for you:
Can you think of a time when someone’s words changed the course of your life? Or have your words made a difference in someone’s actions or life? If not, find someone and encourage them this week. Share your experience with me via email to let me know and I’ll feature it on my blog in a post.
Would love to hear your story in the comments.
To quote Elle, Encourage one another.