We want it! In fact we thirst for it. It is as important as the air we breath—it is oxygen for the soul. But most of us have a persistent deficiency of encouragement in our lives.
The root of encouragement is “courage”—infusing the belief and strength that helps someone take the next step in a difficult race. Encouragement breaths life into the hopeless and gives strength to the helpless.
We need it, we want it and we simply do not get enough encouragement.
April 15, 1865 Abraham Lincoln was assassinated at the Ford Theatre. President Lincoln had a few obvious things in his possession that evening—two pairs of spectacles and a lens polisher, a pocketknife, a watch fob, a linen handkerchief, and a brown leather wallet containing a five-dollar Confederate note and nine newspaper clippings.
The clippings were worn but all shared a common theme—encouragement. One of the articles starts out, “Abe Lincoln is one of the greatest statesmen of all time.”
In the face of tremendous pressure and resistance, the most powerful man alive was thirsty for encouragement. Lincoln’s life prior to becoming President was a series of failures. He was not fully appreciated until long after his death. Lincoln was carrying these newspaper clippings because he needed the encouragement. Even if it was just one writer’s opinion.
Why is encouragement so important? Because we grossly underestimate two things:
- How deeply those around us are hurting and struggling.
- The awesome power of a timely word of encouragement.
We need encouragement—it changes our perspective and is a source of hope. The right word at the right time has the power to warm a cold heart, turn defeat into victory, turn a calloused spirit into a willing spirit and break through the wall of resistance.
“There are high spots in all of our lives, and most of them have come about through encouragement from someone else.”
No one needs to be reminded that life is hard—challenges and adversity are deeply woven into the fabric of life. Our perspective in the face of difficulty can change with a word of encouragement and we simply don’t get enough of it or persist in pouring it into the people we love and lead.
I am convinced that the “victim mentality” and the “I don’t care attitude” grows and hardens in the absence of encouragement. Encouragement enables us to persevere like nothing else can.
Let me encourage you to lift up those who cross your path today by sharing some great words of encouragement I have looked at many times. I don’t know who originally wrote them (they are not mine), but they should speak to the heart and mind of every leader, teacher, coach, parent, or friend.
People want to do the right thing. Stand with them.
People want to find better ways of doing things. Empower them.
People want to achieve things they can be proud of. Motivate them.
People want to belong to a group that achieves the extraordinary. Invite them.
People want to earn recognition for who they are and what they achieve. Honor them.
No one ever rejects a word of encouragement—it changes lives.