Make Encouragement Contagious

Encouragement has the power to be at the heart of who we are and who we become, and the power to influence those around us.  Here on the swake in my idyllic little world, I am lucky to be the centre of attention for two encouragers - one furry and one human who is less furry.  As I descended the stairs to the office with my coffee in one hand, the human encourager asked if I had a game plan for the blog this week.  The furry encourager was busy making slurping noises as she vacuumed up the last traces of rice and meat that she relishes for breakfast.  My answer to the question about a game plan was a bit vague, "I think I have a plan."  

My Furry Encourager
My plan for this blog has been germinating for days already.  It hinges on the word encouragement, the power of being an encourager, and the wonder of being encouraged.  This actually starts with last week's blog.  Sometimes it is easy to come up with a game plan and other times it is hard.  Last week was harder, I tried plan A then switched to plan B, finally settling on plan C.  That's a lot of words and a lot of strokes of the delete button accompanied by unease that the idea of completed versus finished might not resonate with anyone else.  Central to the word encouragement is the word courage and so I summoned up my courage and published before hiking back up the stairs to check in on my number one critic's review.  My critic, also my resident encourager, declared it 'good' so I went about my day and did a little more writing that took more courage. That's another story for another day.  Through the week, in person and via electronic means, readers used the words completed or finished to tell me how they were doing.  It was fun, it was encouraging, and you became my encouragers.

February 15, 2013 on the Swake
The trickle effect of encouragement compounded by the incredible sunsets we were gifted with last week, caused me to question how I could intentionally encourage my colleagues, my family, and my friends.  I wanted in on the fun, I wanted to be an encourager but I needed to find my own style.  I couldn't adopt the activities of the furry encourager in our house because folks might get a little weirded out if I started licking them and nudging them with my head to demonstrate how great I thought they were.  I was reluctant to emulate the human who is less furry, as I fear that some of his encouragement borders on delusion.  He regularly tells Kanti, she is the smartest dog ever and that she can spell.  Kanti completely believes and adores him in response to all those wonderful words.  Not because I think she understands them but because she understands the tone and the intent, the love and encouragement behind them.  My bet, is that people are the same.  

We encourage those around us not so much with exactly what we say or do, but with how we say and how we do.  That takes a whole lot of pressure off because we don't have to come up with a checklist or a project plan for encouragement actions or deliverables.  Phew...  There are no prescriptive measures, just absorb it in your soul and share it every chance you get.  Be you, be courageous, pay encouragement forward and make encouragement contagious.