With thanks to Rachel Green – http://www.rachelgreen.com
Why is it that we don’t affirm people in what they’re doing? Why is it we stand back from giving words of encouragement yet are so quick and ready to criticise? Why is it that we wait until it is too late to tell people we love them, admire them or appreciate them? Why do we not make every day encouragement day? Does it matter? Absolutely yes. When people feel valued, appreciated and acknowledged they are far more likely to maintain their motivation, confidence and willingness to work hard. They will put in a greater effort into a relationship. They will be more emotionally resilient in tough times. If you want more love give more encouragement. The advantages of providing encouragement are many and far reaching. How can you express your appreciation of people, their work, their friendship, their abilities or whatever it is that you value in them? Read on to the tips section to find out. It could revolutionise your relationships and boost your own satisfaction with life.
The TOP TIPS: How to provide encouragement.
Tip 1: Be specific.
Coming up to me after I’ve given a speech and saying “Wonderful speech, thank you” is nice. However, it isn’t informative. In contrast, if you say something like, “Your tip on how to keep your cool when your teenagers are being rude was so helpful, I’m going home to use it,” will be far more delightful. Why? Because the detail shows me that you mean it. The specificity allows me to know exactly what has helped. Thus, I am encouraged to use this tip when preparing future speeches. Finally, I feel heard. I have been told exactly what has been understood and taken away from my speech. This means I know that I have got my message across. And that is what matters to me. It doesn’t matter half so much whether I had a pretty dress on, or whether I was “wonderful”. What matters to me is whether I’ve done something valuable and inspired people to change what they’re doing. Specific feedback is much more believable and useful than a general statement. Give specific encouragement.
Tip 2. Say how a person is different.
I remember a time when one of my close friends and I were discussing our relationship, which had gone on for a long time. He said to me, “Do you know what I really appreciate about you, it’s the fact that you have your own starter motor. You’ll take the initiative. I don’t need to sit at home wondering whether you need me, I know you’ll phone and tell me. I really like that about you, it’s different from other people I know, who somehow expect me to mind read them”. I had no idea I did this, nor that it mattered. I also had failed to appreciate prior to this that this was something specific and special about me. Doesn’t everyone do this? I’d just taken it for granted. When you tell a person how they stand out from the crowd it can be very affirming and encouraging. It is also educational and helpful in a person’s self development. We all have our blind spots and need others to help fill them in for us. Simple encouragement can do this.
Tip 3. Be generous in giving words of encouragement.
How often do you tell your partner, your children, your boss, your mother, your assistant, what you appreciate about them? Is it once a year on your wedding anniversary or at a performance review, or on a monthly or daily basis? Regularly encourage, appreciate and value the people in your life. Don’t wait for a disaster, crisis or anniversary before you do. Develop an attitude of gratitude towards the people around you and share it with them. When you do, everyone benefits. You’ll feel good and so will they.
Tip 4. Spend time noting what you appreciate.
It’s so easy to find fault in people and yet this can be of little value to you or others. All it does is develop a negative mind set in yourself, and negativity and a lack of self-confidence in others. When you look for the good things in people and tell them what you appreciate, then you are helping yourself as well as them. Why? Because your own mind starts to find and value the good things in people and your life. And this is where happiness lies. Happiness is to be found in appreciation for what we have, not in what’s missing. By concentrating on what is good about the people we live, work and associate with, we are building happier relationships, stronger friendships and higher levels of trust.
Have you told the people in your life what you appreciate about them? If not, do it today. Tomorrow may never come.