This is the first of a three part series on encouraging others. We hope it encourages you.
Encouragement is always welcome. Unlike advice, opinion, and criticism, encouragement doesn’t require a direct invitation. That doesn’t mean that timing isn’t involved, there is a time and season for all tings. It does mean that a wise encourager can always add value.
I’m talking about encouragement without expectation of anything in return. Great encouragers main focus isn’t networking, or personal benefit. That can be a side effect, but great encouragers are simply attempting to add value to others.
I have seen many encouragers along the way, and I’m attempting to encourage others myself in any way I can. There are some tools of encouragement that I’d like to share with you. Just as great craftsman develop their skills with a saw or chisel, you can use these to become a more effective encourager.
First, actively listen. This will do three important things. It will in itself encourage them that someone cares about them. It will encourage them that what they care about is important to someone else.
It will guide you to areas that need encouragement, allowing you to pour into them properly. Water poured on a counter makes a mess, water poured into a glass quenches a thirst.
Next, practice regular encouragement. Just as plants need regular sunshine, all of us benefit from continuing reinforcement. This may not mean you say something every day, but a weekly text, call, or email might be the only validation they receive that week.
This is the most important, believe in them. Don’t just say you do, or encourage to be a good person. Believe in those you encourage. When you do, it comes from the heart. Heartfelt encouragement is a bond between you and those you pour into. It must be sustained with loyalty and trust.
Finally, be the voice that tells them you can achieve what you’re dreaming of doing. Encouragement for today is vital, lifting towards tomorrow helps them to reach higher. Don’t pick the direction for them, but be the one cheering them towards the finish line.
To use a play on words, to encourage is to pour courage in others. In a very real way, you are gifting them a means to succeeding. Your voice can help them to drown out the voices that are against them.
Some of the greatest moments in my life, we’re not my own accomplishments, but supporting others. You’re encouragement can elevate, rescue, and even prevent defeat for others. It’s harder to give up, when you know someone else truly believes in you.