Tara enrolled in my Great Big Dreams e-Seminar twice in a row. (Several people have done this to keep the momentum going.)
At the end of Tara’s first e-Seminar, she realized that she was not exactly happy in her relationship of several years. This is putting it mildly, methinks. But she hadn’t ever thought about happiness before. As so many of us have done in our lives, she had never considered her own joy as an option. The relationship was more about need and drama than it was about love or happiness.
In the first few days of her second e-Seminar, Tara wrote to me about her intention for her work in this next e-Seminar. She wrote: (Note: Tara is not from the U.S. English is her second language, but I love how she writes so I didn’t edit it.)
The situation with the man I love remains unchanged. I do not want to work on this. There is no solving for me. To me this seems like a forced resolution. It will come in its own time. I’m sure about this.
What I want to concentrate on is focusing on myself. I want to concentrate on self love and centering, knowing that every question I have is answered by my inner self.
My intent is to lead a centered fulfilling life, expressing self love and gratitude every day.
So, three days (THREE DAYS!) after she wrote this, I got an email from her, letting me know that her man had emailed her. He had fallen in love with someone else and no longer wanted to be with her or see her.
[This is where we pause the video.]
Now, here’s where the Extreme Encourager has a choice to make.
She can go to the typical place where everyone goes. We all know these places: The guy is an idiot. It must not have been meant to be. She’s lucky she learned the truth about him now before they got married or something. You poor thing. Men are pigs. Blah blah blah.
This stuff is all about the external. The “what happened.” The drama.
When you’re an Extreme Encourager, you dig deeper. You find the place of power. And the place of power here was Sara’s intention.
So, first, I acknowledged her grief and shock because I knew that this was intensely painful for her. But then, I said, “Wow. Look at how freakin’ powerful you are! You set an intention for happiness. And you’re already releasing the things that keep you from that. You didn’t want to have to make the choice. You even said that very thing. The choice was made for you.”
She was a little shocked to hear encouragement for her power at a time when she felt so weak and small. But she later said that even in her continued grief, she was able to hold on to that knowledge of her own power to create, and that this awareness helped her move beyond the pain.
Finding the Place of Power
Being an Extreme Encourager is being willing (or even insistent!) to go to the unpopular place to go. It requires that you believe a deeper truth than just the usual thoughts at the level of drama, story-telling, warnings and “practicality” that people are so addicted to.
So, then let’s look at Chickpea’s comment from the last post I wrote about encouragement:
I love the idea of being of an extreme encourager all the time, but I find it hard to be sincere in this always. I’ll give you an example – recently a friend asked me my opinion of his singing voice as he wanted to know what I thought of his dream to be an opera singer. He is 40 years old and after hearing him, well, I found it kind of hard to discern vocal talent at least in conventional lyrical terms. What would be the best route to have taken? Encourage him regardless as it is all about process maybe?
First thought: If this person asked for an opinion, then we’re dealing with grey area. For instance, if I ask a friend for her opinion of a shirt I’m considering, then I want the opinion. I don’t want, “Hey, you can wear anything you want and I believe in you!”
That being said, I believe that it is always better to encourage people. Find the place of power.
So, in a situation with someone who has a dream of being an opera singer but doesn’t have an operatic voice, where’s the power? Power is in the intention and in the delight. So, start with finding that truth. You might say, “Tell me what you love about opera.” And begin the conversation so that the person gets totally into the energy of love and delight. Then ask, “So how can we get you started on this dream? How can I encourage you to begin to take action? What do you want here? Cuz I want to encourage you!”
What an Extreme Encourager knows is that everyone – even a bad singer – can learn deeper truths about themselves as they follow their delight and their dreams. An Extreme Encourager also knows that the path always shifts and teaches you about yourself.
So, let’s say you encourage your friend to go try some voice lessons and community theatre. Maybe he does this, only to realize that what he really wants to do is paint scenery. Maybe that was the whole reason he loved opera! Maybe it took him to the place of his true joy!
This is how it works. And if you encourage someone to try something and they mess up, then you encourage them to keep going because everything takes time. There is always a place of power. Encouragement is not a one time thing.
In the last post, I wrote about my jazz musician friend (I’ll call him Miles) who encouraged me to do music. Well, obviously I did do music. AND I have fallen flat on my ass so many times that it’s a miracle my ass is still there. (Last I checked.) In fact, I remember calling Miles one night from a pay phone in New York City in the pouring rain after a disastrous showcase that was supposed to launch my career to new levels of fame and glory. It did not. I had the flu, and I sang with all the vocal grace of Sylvia Browne.
I sobbed into the phone. And Miles listened with compassion and love. He continued to tell me that I was doing great and that bad nights happen. He continued to encourage me. He never said, “Wow. I must have messed up here. You probably shouldn’t have done music after all. What was I thinking??”
Being an encourager isn’t an event. You keep finding the place of power.
The Anatomy of Encouragement
The core of encouragement is that it is about trust in other people and trust in our enormous capacity to learn and grow from our amazing dreams and intentions.
The effect of encouragement is that it helps people trust in themselves. We all need people to believe in us.
And the truth about encouragement is that everything in your life is a story you tell yourself. In other words, life is an illusion. So, you might as well make it a good one.
p.s. BeMyRecordLabel.com was launched exactly one week ago. The pre-orders for my CD have been rolling in, and today I’ve posted the budget report!
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