I recently received an incredibly cool email of encouragement from a colleague. I’m sure the email took no more than 2 or 3 minutes to write but the impact was tangible and lasting.
It validated my effort. It motivated me. It was unexpected. I smiled when I read it. I decided then and there to work even harder and be more creative the next time.
But more than anything, it inspired me to become better at being an encourager. I realized how many opportunities I have missed to give others the same lift I just experienced. It’s time for me to go out of my way and try to become a full-time encourager.
So using my friend and the recent email I received as a guide, here is what I’m going to start doing more of:
Make the choice. Like just about everything, it will start with making a choice to take the time and put forth a little effort to begin recognizing and encouraging someone. Write the email. Pick up the phone. Stop by and have a chat.
Look for opportunities. I will not need to look far. I’m reminded of one of my first blog posts I ever wrote. It talks about a doorman in our building who stood in the main hallway as people left the building on a Friday night. While people passed by he would flash a big smile and say, “Great work this week!” or “Awesome job today!” He didn’t need to do this but he did. I looked back as people passed him and couldn’t help but notice the smiles from those he just encouraged. Opportunities are everywhere.
Assume everybody needs it. When I start wondering who needs encouragement, I’ll stop myself. Let’s assume everybody needs at least a little recognition and encouragement and go from there.
Give specific examples. In the email I received, my colleague mentioned specifically how what I am doing is meaningful and is making a difference. While the doorman didn’t really know if I was doing a good job or not, I have the opportunity to write or say a few detailed reasons how this person has influenced, inspired, or changed me.
I’m thinking now of the developer who inspired the “Work Your Ass Off” line from my earlier post. His work ethic is staggering and yet I have never said anything to him about how I noticed it and how it affected me. That will change today.