Long ago, when I first shared my dream of becoming a professional musician with one of my friends, she knitted her brows and said, “Huh?”

The dire warnings she fired off didn’t surprise me. Hey, most of us have had a lifetime filled with this kind of “practical advice.”  And I was used to giving up in the face of it.

During this fumbling stumbling time, I met a man who became an unlikely best friend and mentor.  He was a brilliant jazz musician as well as a self-employed computer programmer.

One night, I told him my dream.  Without even blinking, he said, “Honey (he always called me Honey), you’d be fabulous. That’s perfect!”  And he meant it.

At that moment, I felt like flying.  I had never experienced such direct and truthful support without a single “practical” warning attached.  This friend set me free by offering one simple thing:

Encouragement.

That moment was not only the launch point of a successful entrepreneurial path for me – but also for me choosing to be an encouraging voice to others.

Encouragement is more than just a fleeting moment of motivation.  It’s a genuine boost of hope and glimpse of possibility.   Yes, there might be work to be done. But encouragement reminds us that it CAN be done.

Think about the last great idea you had, or the last big decision you needed to make.

Who did you most want to call for support and solutions?

Be THAT person.

It’s called being an Extreme Encourager, and those of us who choose this role would love it if you’d join us.

Here are the club rules:

• An Extreme Encourager is a Leader

Whether you’re a business owner, an artist, an entrepreneur or a CEO – you must own your role as a leader. What this means is that you take seriously the enormous impact and influence you have on the people around you.

The friend I mentioned? The one who encouraged me?  He went on to a leadership role at Apple in Cupertino. No surprise. He didn’t take lightly his impact and influence.  You shouldn’t either.

• An Extreme Encourager Models a Courageous Life

The best encouragers are the ones who live it. Whether they’re just getting started, or they’re veteran risk-taking pioneers – the encouragers are the ones who want a bigger life for themselves and are willing to “go there.”   This is why my jazz musician friend could simply offer encouragement when my other friend could not.

•  An Extreme Encourager Actively Listens

Encouragers know that encouragement doesn’t mean you just tell people to “buck up” or “get over it.” They know how to listen.  This means looking at the speaker, listening to her, setting your agendas and judgments aside, and honoring the wise soul who is sharing her heart with you.

•  An Extreme Encourager Avoids Clichés

Avoiding clichés is a natural result of actively listening to someone. Being an extreme encourager doesn’t mean that you blindly tell people “You can do it!” or “Let go of fear!”  It’s deeper than that. It’s seeing the truth of the other person, especially when they cannot.

•  An Extreme Encourager Acknowledges Fear (But Doesn’t Give it Power)

Face it. We all get visits from the hooglie-booglies. These are the voices that tell us we can’t, or we shouldn’t, or we’ll fail, or we’ll look stupid. An encourager doesn’t focus on those voices because she knows they they’re trying to hook her.  An encourager simply acknowledges that the voices are there and that you can’t make them go away by arguing with them. An encourager knows that those voices aren’t the truth. They only SEEM like the truth.

•  An Extreme Encourager Believes in Miracles As Well as Work

Extreme encouragers are mystics of sorts.  They know that the so-called “woo-woo” stuff is more real than the so-called “logical” stuff.  They celebrate the divine as a simple fact of everyday existence and don’t get caught up in the “prove it” mindset.

•  An Extreme Encourager Knows that the Goal Shapes the Goal-Setter

She knows you’ll develop the needed character traits as you go. In other words, you’re ready now, even if you’re not perfect yet!  I shudder when I read advice that discourages people from trying something because of character traits “required” in advance. “You shouldn’t _________ if you’re not disciplined.” “If you don’t have focus, you can’t be a ___________.” Most of the successful people I know developed these traits as they went.  I certainly did.  Encouragers understand the huge potential for growth in the human spirit, especially when someone takes the biggest risk of all and begins to follow her heart.

Has encouragement helped you?

In the comments below, share a story of how someone’s encouragement helped light the way.

And of course, if you NEED a little encouragement – just ASK!

 

17 COMMENTS ADD A COMMENT
  • tania sethi

    hi everyone, thank you christine! last sunday i did some huge work to clear some space in my mind and woke up the next morning wanting to go to India. i approached my dad at 8am and asked 1 question. his response: ‘go for it, do it, its easy’. 4 hours later i had a ticket in hand and leave tomorrow for India for a month!! i realized pure encouragement is priceless and made my heart fly instantly.
    thank you, i’m gonna go hug my dad now 😉

  • Jessica

    This is so true. I’ve had, one person, who really encourages me to live my passion. Of course, I have many that say good for you and “try” not to be negative about it. My favorite line is, “I’m not trying to say it’s bad, but….” and on it goes. My one friend who has really encouraged me through the process of starting up my own business is whom I turn to for support. It is so needed in this world, that I am in a profession where I can be that for others. I am so grateful for her and you, thank you.

  • inge

    I’m already an extreme encourager when it comes to children. I will expand my encouraging to adults as well. ^^

  • Sarah

    I need to share this article with my husband! He is practical and logical, which is often a good balance for me. But when I’m sharing exciting plans about my business, I always walk away feeling totally deflated. He has recognized that his efforts, while well-intentioned, are not having a positive effect on me or our relationship. He wants to try to be more encouraging, but doesn’t really know where to start. Thank you, Christine, for sharing this at just the right moment!

  • Ana Melikian

    Encouragement – having someone believing in you- it’s so important. It still remember when one of my teacher at the university really belief in my potential, in what I can become. I was lucky to find the right people in my academic career, and I’m proud of finding people like you Christine in my entrepreneur adventure – love it 🙂

  • Patrice Federspiel

    When we dip into the mode of encouragement we share with others the love and guidance that we have felt along the way. It is the utmost act of paying it forward and paying back to those who have encouraged us along the way. Encouraging others to “go out on a limb” of their own making is a gift we give to ourselves and to those “others”.
    Christine you continually encourage me as I listen to my Uplevel Your Life mp3s while I walk and when I read your weekly emails. Often when I make business decisions your voice is whispering in my ears.
    Thank you for always being positive and encouraging.

  • Maggie

    In my 20’s I loathed cocktail parties and occasions that called for “small talk.” Finally one day I made the decision to go to a party and play “hostess” (though it wasn’t my party). I made it my “job” to put other people at ease and make sure they were having a good time (a type of encourager, I suppose). What a mental shift!
    Becoming an Encourager is just that–a mental shift that fills us with confidence while helping others too.

    • Miranda

      Maggie, your cocktail party idea is so smart and useful!!! Thank you very, very much for sharing.

  • Colleen

    I’ve had a lifetime battle with following my dreams and doing what I would love to do. My husband has always been a wonderful source of encouragement. I’m so lucky to have that, but I’m still able to put up my own roadblocks. I suffer from the, “What if I put in all these hours I don’t have for nothing to happen in the end?” Now as another birthdays looms, I’m trying hard to push past all this. Maybe I’ll keep reading this article whatever I need it! Thanks!

    • Patrice

      Colleen – You have learned so much in all those attempts…getting closer to your dreams and growing as a person, fine-tuning what the dream really is – there has not been a wasted hour or minute in the journey – why stop now…you are almost there!

      Patrice

      (Extreme-encourager-in-training!)

  • Nneka, Working Mystic

    You are, indeed, an extreme encourager Christine. I remember, so clearly, that night at the house concert when you gave me your CD, Rain & Mud & Wild & Green. I really needed it. I’ve watched you grow and be supportive to more and more women and now, you are my mentor also. Keep on encouraging and changing the world!

    • Teri Beckman

      Love this Nneka. Thanks for sharing… I have also been a long time Christine Kane fan, finding her first through her music and finally coaching. Aren’t we lucky!?

  • Marcy Heim

    As with everything Christine writes, this leaves me feeling both inspired and supported. Inspired because I realize I AM an Encourager now and how important this is! Supported because there are times I just run out….just run out – of energy, confidence, whatever.. And it is ok to ask for the encouragement of others at these times. Thank you, Christine. Marcy

  • Krystal

    I have been at both ends of encouragement and owe so much to this simple act. I’m not especially a risk taker, but took a very large leap to my current job as an independent contractor at the encouragement of a dear friend. That was just over a year ago and have not looked back, am so much happier and have much more control over my destiny because of it.
    I am blessed to have several alcoholics in my life. Because I know the real them, I always offer them encouragement for sobriety and how it will keep their life on track. They have expressed on numerous occasions how important my encouragement has been, and I have seen them make major breakthroughs they never thought they could make.
    Encouragement validates a dream. Encouragement is also rather contagious. I see those whom I have encouraged, now encouraging others because they have experienced the power it can create. It’s one of the reasons why I am writing this today and follow Christine’s posts. I feed on this, it validates my life, it motivates me to be my best, it inspires me to set goals and if I shoot for the stars I just might reach Mars. Thank you Christine.

  • Araceli

    Love this article! In my life, I’ve had a balance between receiving encouragement and being the encourager. This week I needed the encouragement like never before and I received it. I had to ask for it, but I got it and it made all the difference in the world. Because if it, I took my “defeat” and ran with it. Today is a new day 🙂

Leave a Reply to Patrice Federspiel
Cancel Reply