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The Power of Encouragement

Have you ever watched a playoff game where it’s been a nail biter and now it’s tied? The situation is tense. Both sides are collectively holding their breath.

What I love most at this moment is the reaction of the crowd if the home team scores. One minute everything is dead silent and still. The next, the place is erupting with cheers, yells, and movement. Fans are jumping up and down, hi-fiving it with their buds, clapping.  It’s a domino effect.  It’s so much fun to watch. Or even better, be a participant. Having fans or a cheering section is half the fun of sports, whether you’re a player or an observer. It’s enriches not just sport but life.

Do you have a cheerleader in your life? Who is it? I have benefitted and been blessed by a few people, both men and women, who have encouraged and supported me as I have pursued my dreams and visions. I was reminded again recently how thankful I am for these people. How they bless me.

I confess I’m not always great at this myself. It’s something I need to work on. Some people are enviably gifted at encouragement, cheerleading. If that’s you, don’t take this gift lightly. It’s an amazing and beautiful gift you have. I know some of us, who benefit from it, take it for granted sometimes. I’m sorry. Because it is priceless.

I am realizing that we all need to be encouragers. We can’t leave it up to only those who do it well. We all need to learn to encourage, support and uplift others. Even encouragers get discouraged. Who cheers them on? Everyone needs a dose of “You can do it! I believe in you” every now and then.

Having someone believe in you can turn a bad day on its head. It can change a negative attitude or perspective into a positive one. It can make something happen that maybe was on the cusp of being abandoned. A word, a hug or a smile might be the one thing that changes history because it gave someone hope, the ability to try one more time. To not give up.

It takes a brave person to cheer someone else on. It means forgetting yourself and your own agenda and placing another’s need, dream, desire before your own.

It may mean cheering them on about something that we want for ourselves. That takes humility. Being happy for someone pursuing the dream you want, takes not only humility but genuine love. A divine love that often times we can’t muster up on our own. The kind that casts out all fear because love can’t coexist with fear.

Cheering someone else on with love means that we aren’t worried about not getting our own way. We aren’t concerned someone else is going to win. Take home the prize. Because it is not about the prize. It’s about the person.

Every time someone cheers us on, we feel like we matter to that person. They understand our desires and visions but their concern is us. Their love, support and encouragement give us the confidence to go out and do what we were called to do. It really does take a village. Behind every success, is a long line of people who cheered, sacrificed, and loved that person on.

The tasks fade as do the applause and accolades. The relationships, the friendships do not. I want to be as equally invested in my friends’ lives as they are in me. I want to cultivate encouraging others to dream, to dare to try and let them know they have a cheering section right behind them. That I believe in them too.

I’m a big believer in thanking people. You never regret saying it. A thank you or a “I believe in you” never has an expiry date. It’s always relevant. Who can you encourage or say thank you for encouraging you, today?