Manifest a Dream by Being Extreme - Christine Kane

Manifest a Dream by Being ExtremeLong ago, when I first shared my dream of becoming a professional musician with my friend Shelly, 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 was 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:


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 jolt of “can-do” 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.

You can call it a coach, an advisor, or go ahead and call it an Extreme Encourager.  Those of us who choose this role would love it if you’d join us.

Here are the club rules:

• Be 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 recognize and take seriously the enormous influence you have on the people around you. You may not even know it yet, but you’re impacting the people around you every day.

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.

• Model 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.

•  Be an Active Listener

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.

•  Avoid 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.

•  Acknowledge Your Fear (But Don’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.

•  Believe 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.

•  Know 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.

So, whatdya think?  Has encouragement helped or hindered you in your dreams?  Do you want to be encouraged, or would you rather be warned?  Share in the comments!  I’m really curious here…

  • Lisa Reman

    After read your article i know you have excellent mind to write for self improvement. Just love it. Thanks.

  • T. Bergenn

    In my business I tell people they need four qualities in order to be successful:
    Enjoy Taking Initiativ
    Anyone motivated enough to develop these characteristics can succeed, but I tell people this to be honest and encourage, not to discourage a determined person. Because unless and until they manifest these qualities, I believe success will elude them… and I want people to have successful and edifying experiences with me… not heartbreak and self loathing. Not every dream fits every dreamer like a glove. The Extreme Encouragers, in my opinion, have a sacred duty to listen SUPER deeply, so we can help identify the ESSENTIAL aspects and strengths and growing energy edge of a person… to support THAT, and at times help sift through the whim chatter… which may actually detract from fulfillment of the deeper dreams.

  • Raederle

    There have been many people in my life who played the role of the Extreme Encourager for me. My parents, my first employer, and many clients and friends later on. Now I am happy to be that person for many others. In fact, my free e-course is pretty much designed around this concept although I never thought of it that way before.

    Thanks for another fantastic post Christine. I always mention your blog to people when thinking of the “best blogs” out there. You, mindvalleyinsights and Dr. Ritamarie are my top three reads online. 🙂

    ~ Raederle

  • Jessica Marie

    Christine, thank you for this! I really needed to read this today 🙂 I sometimes think I need to be warned, but in reality what I need is encouragement. I have heard enough warnings in my life, from others and even from my own brain. It is now time that I become encouraging to myself and hear encouragement from others. I want the positive in my life!

  • Allison

    Hi Christine, OMG DID THAT SPEAK TO ME. I definitely prefer the encourager to all those that offer up reasons why it can’t be done. Sadly I’ve not had many of them in my life and at every turn it’s been why I can’t. Not to worry I discovered the world of coaches, so what if i have to pay them, if that’s how I get support for my dreams so be it. The funny thing is after getting a coach and striving forward, slowly, I met more people who support me dream and encourage me along. I’ve met a new community and I love it.

    Finally just to say, that I have also changed from being a a nay sayer to others to a supporting and encouraging role. Maybe that’s why I’m meeting more encouraging people.

    Awesome post, thanks for the food for thought!!

  • Kemya Scott

    This is such an encouraging post Christine! You reminded me of an important lesson, to be THAT person. I’m known for being the encourager, I just have to pour that same encouragement and energy into myself. The ‘Goals Shape the Goal-Setter’ really hit home for me, my bold dream lifestyle will manifest as a result of my bold goals. These are the best club rules ever!

  • Don

    “Most of the successful people I know developed these traits as they went.”
    Now that was encouraging to a guy who tends to struggle with decisions, but knows that entrepreneurs and leaders have to be decision makers. Thanks for the boost!

  • Elizabeth Milligan

    Yes to extreme encouragement! I don’t find warnings helpful as although others may feel they are looking out for our best interests, more often than not it is their own fears they are airing and sharing. When I talk about my ideas I’ve already gone through the pros and cons and if I’m ready to share then I’m definitely looking for encouragement. It’s important to know who’s “on your team” and where to go for encouragement if you need it!

  • Christine Springer

    Encouragement is the lighter fluid that helps dreams catch fire! I love your first rule: Be a Leader! When we forget that we are leaders, we can become careless with our words. Thank you for this!

  • Matthew Flesch

    Thanks so much, Christine! I was just sitting down for my monthly revisit of my visioning for how I practice (acupuncture with a whole lotta coaching involved). Your words have set a perfect tone for that exercise! Focused Listening and Extreme Encouragement! That just about sums it up!
    So many folks along my business path have given me very heartfelt advice about how you just can’t make it in healthcare if you don’t take insurance (which I don’t) or if you specialize (I work exclusively with people in transition who are emotionally or mentally stuck in their lives). But six years ago, when I first started my business, there was one person who told me that there was ‘no possible way I could fail’ because I was following my heart and passion. It was her very clear support and encouragement that gave me something to say to myself every time I got advice from someone who believed it couldn’t be done. Thank God for her! And for you!

  • Erica Quam

    I had a realization last year that I constantly was seeking approval from people. I have been working to let go of that need for approval and have just embraced taking ACTION. In fact, that’s my word for the year. Action. Even if it’s not perfect, even if I don’t get the exact results I was hoping for, taking this action IS building my confidence and moving me in the right direction. As I let go of this need for approval, I have found many more people cheering me on – people in my life being those extreme encouragers. It’s CRAZY! It’s also helped me realize that those people I was seeking approval from are just like your friend. They didn’t want me to play big or change or be different. And it’s helped me just be me in my business and really get clear on the things that I can do to help other people – and put it out there. YAY! Thanks – as always – Christine!

    • Dawn

      I can identify with wanting something to be perfect. There was a post on my Facebook page that I have been repeating lately: “Done is better than perfect.” This helps me a lot. I hope that it helps you too.

  • Gina

    Extreme encouragement has definitely helped me. And the cliche sort of encouragement hasn’t hindered, really, but it’s not that helpful either, I suppose you could call it a little on the positive side of neutral. I think most people who do it mean well, so at least I can say I’ve got someone who believes in me, if a bit blindly;-)

    I think at the very beginning of a project I’m most helped by extreme encouragement. Warnings can be helpful too, so I can dive in and go for it, but I’ve made arrangements to deal with some of the challenges that may come up. But the extreme encouragement to warnings ratio has to be big, at least 2 to 1, maybe more like 10 to 1…

    And I love, love, love the concept of developing the needed traits as I go. I realize that’s what I’ve been doing, and it’s so nice to hear that it’s a thing, not just me blundering about, yay! 🙂

  • Lauren

    You were the encourager in my life when I was dealing with friends and family members who had joined the hooglie-booglies! They were listening to their own committee 🙂 It made a huge difference in my life and I realized at that moment that I wanted to be an encourager for other women. I got asked the other day why women? I lost my identical twin 3 years ago and my older sister came down with severe Alzheimer’s. Both had turned to anxiety and alcohol to numb their fears. Having you as my coach, mentor, and encourager in my life made a huge positive impact on my life. So thank you. Thank you for all that you do and the awesome content you continue to deliver. Thank you for believing in me as I started my business and followed my heart. Most importantly, thank you for being my encourager!!!

  • Pamela

    YES! I got so much “warning” about pursuing my dream. Those warnings said that my passions were okay as hobbies, but a bad way to make a living. So I pursued something that doesn’t fulfill me. I remind myself that the warnings came from a place of love, but it still took a long time to step off the crazy train that is life guided by warnings and take the courageous path instead!

  • A. E. Starkey

    I think “Goals Shape the Goal-Setter” is an intriguing concept. I know you’ve discussed it before in some of your other teaching materials, but never quite so succinctly: it’s good to know that I can develop discipline and resilience, that it’s almost an inevitable byproduct of continually re-applying myself to my goal/vision/intent (I like to use the word quest!). Thank you, Christine. This was well-timed (eerily so) and inspiration-provoking.

    • T. Bergenn

      “Goals shape the goal setter.” may derive from “Tasks Make the People,” which was a Leninist concept that empowered people to learn and grow into leadership by doing. Of course, we all learn by doing. If our WHY is strong enough to motivate us to take on new challenges constantly… we will likely emerge as strong leaders.

  • Nneka, Working Mystic

    Hi Christine, I love that you wrote acknowledge your fears. I find that my fears are the little girl in me from long ago. Sure, she starts out like a tough guy. But, when I pause to give that part of me a voice, it turns out to be the little girl who’s just afraid.

    How do I get out of it?

    I soothe her. I assure her, and we keep it moving!

    • Christine Kane

      I love this Nneka.

      I always encourage people to take time to “go fetal” every now and then. Just set the timer and allow the feelings to be there. And then get up and be done with it when the timer goes off. (repeat as needed!)

  • Wendy Robinson

    This lesson and the club rules are going up on my wall! I loved reading every single word! I get a jolt of energy every time I witness someone’s internal light bulb go off as a result of something I said to them. I literally “saw” the look on your face as I read about what your mentor said to you after declaring that you wanted to be a musician. This is who I want to be…

  • Tracey Miller

    Thanks so much for the words of encouragement! And for reminding us we don’t have to be perfect to be courageous!

  • Lynn V.

    OMG, I SOOO needed to read this today. A discussion with a loved one last night injected fear and doubt into me as we were talked about my new business. “Why are you putting yourself through this now?” was the question. After thinking about it this morning, it left me flattened! I asked the Universe for a sign this morning, and here you are! Thank you, Christine!!

    • Christine Kane

      Awww, Lynn – I LOVE that I was your sign! Honored, in fact! 🙂 And yes, you can do this. Of course it’s got challenges! It wouldn’t be worth doing if it didn’t! 🙂