"One of the most beautiful gifts in the world is the gift of encouragement. When someone encourages you, that person helps you over a threshold you might otherwise never have crossed on your own." John O'Donohue
The American Heritage Dictionary defines "encourage" as follows: to inspire with hope, courage or confidence.
Pastor Chris Beard (http://www.fcacincinnati.org/) described it in a totally awesome sermon this past Sunday, which inspired this post, when he said, "to encourage is to speak courage into someone's heart.
No matter what our circumstance, no matter what our station in life, we can all encourage others! Quoting Pastor Chris again, "We are made to take the input of others, and to to give our input to others.
But sometimes we're afraid to share our stories and experiences. Perhaps we're afraid of what people might think, or maybe we believe what we have to share isn't that important. But all of us learn and aquire wisdom from our mistakes, and it's a gift to share this with others!
Even though our scars exist (physical or emotional) the pain is gone, and sharing what we've experienced can stregthen, and speak courage into another person's life. One of the most moving accounts of encouragement I've ever read is in the June/July issue of Reader's Digest. Daniela Garcia was a young medical student who suffered horrific injuries after being run over by a train. Although she could have died, she didn't give up; she chose to live.
As a quadruple amputee, she finished her medical degree and became a rehabilitation physician. Through her experience, and her scars, she inspires patients daily, as well as ordinary folks like me who read her story.
Encouragement doesn't have to be on a dramatic scale. Every day we can encourage those around us. George M. Adams says, "Encouragement is sugar to the soul," and we all need it: children, spouses, friends, co-workers, the sales clerk who's having a bad day, etc.
In writing communities we encourage each other by sharing ideas to improve our writing. And we also share encouragement when rejections are received. We've all been there and we think of the current bestselling authors who aren't any more! And we're certainly encouraged to hear when one of us gets "the call" from an agent or publisher.
In the business world, encouragement by helping and sharing with others, and showing you care benefits everyone.
Dan Blank, in his http://www.wegrowmedia.com/ May 13 newsletter, wrote a post entitled "What Are You Sharing?" In it, he discussed a recent transaction of ideas he shared with a prospective client.
Even though no money was exchanged, he chose not to hold back on his ideas and give them only a little of what he could offer. Instead, he shared extensively. Dan said, "It wasn't a transaction of money, but rather a transaction of of ideas and possibilities. Of considering what we can create together. And that's the way it should be. To share. To help."
And that's encouragement--at home, at work, or somewhere else out there in life--to share, to help, to care.
Who will you encourage today?