The Anatomy of Extreme Encouragement - Christine Kane

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. was launched exactly one week ago.  The pre-orders for my CD have been rolling in, and today I’ve posted the budget report!

  • Claire Vorster

    Christine. You got it! Great fresh approach to a tough question. Encouragement is without doubt a force for good in this world of ours. Thanks for yours.


  • Kathy

    Christine – I was there at that show in NYC at the famous Bottom Line when you had the flu. Only you knew you weren’t top of game that night…and maybe that arrogant hiring guy who expected everyone to do his bidding. You might not have been able to hit the high notes of his favorite song but you charmed the audience anyway that night and look what happened – you are still a wonderful singer songwriter (and so much more!) and the Bottom Line is now out of business. And I’ll bet you made some connections in NYC that week despite the late flight and health issues. You found the place of power through it all – you showed up instead of cancelling and made new fans. Great post as always and I so much appreciate you sharing not only your best moments with us but the not so great ones as well and how you learned from them.

  • Caren

    Wow, Christine. I just had an e-mail conversation with a friend where I picked out something he said that just hit me as very dishonest – something he thought he should say, but not what he was truly feeling. I called him out on it! Nervous the whole time I was doing it, because: what if I’m wrong? What if he’s not ready to look at that? What if, what if, what if….?

    But I love him and his wife very much, and it was coming from that place of love… and encouragement! Even though it wasn’t your typical, “you go! You can do it!”, it was encouragement for him to look inside and live his truth.

  • Nantucket Art

    Your advice on creativity could equally be applied to artists or creatives in any medium. Inspiring!! Thanks for the blog

  • Colin

    “Some people are better at being crazy than you’ll ever be at being theraputic”. This is a quote from Psychologist/writer Stephen White, and sums up some of the frustration when our efforts to facilitate healing have little or no effect. Also, I do not usually trust a ‘chronic encourager’; they seem to NEED to heal more than love to heal. This might indicate that another person’s pain is more a drug to the encourager than a calling to heal.
    Also also, my prayers are with you and your recording!
    Fr. Crusty

  • Fiona Purdy


    What do you do if you don’t have an extreme encourager in your life and you’re teetering on the brink of giving up your dreams because after 5 years you have not progressed at after all the hard work and money spent to achieve them??? Nothing I do produces results. I can only go so far in encouraging myself. Do you think there comes a time when you just have to say to yourself that it’s not going to happen and let the dream go??? Is the silence I hear silence from the Universe telling me that what I would love to do is just not in the cards?

    Thanks for your blog, I just discovered it and I love it.


  • James


    I LOVE your attitude and posts like this one. In my life I have tried hard to do exactly what you are talking about here. I am so glad that folks realize the importance of being positive and offering sincere encouragement. In all facets of my life this is so important to a happier more fulfilling life. If I give this some thought I relize that there are people in this world that spend alot of time and energy exploiting the negative in people and giving off nothing but discouragement. It really doesn’t take any more time or energy to look deeper into people and point out the beauty and offer some support.

    Thanks for being you.
    Jim V

  • chris zydel

    Hi Christine,

    Thanks again for another great post! It’s so important to be reminded to continually come back to that “place of power” and to meet another person right where they are. To be reminded that the desires of our heart are always spirit working through us, that we often have no idea where our creative energies want to take us, and that our only job is to say a continual “Yes!” That those yeses are like a string of breadcrumbs that bring us back home to what is most true and real inside of us. That the biggest gift we can give each other is to “extremely encourage” those inner promptings, no matter how wild, or crazy or “unrealistic” they may appear to the so called sensible, objective mind.

    You are, as always, an inspiration. Hope that the new CD is going well and that you are surrounded by a cadre of extreme encouragers!

    All the best,

  • pati

    Hi Christine,

    Thank you for sharing your great thoughts, which, in turn, inspired so many others to share theirs. I wasn’t blessed with children; however, in caring for my Mom, I got to see her blossom — at 75! She, too, inspired me while on Earth, and now in her place with the angels.

    All the best,


  • Joy (your Joy)

    beautiful, brilliant and deep!

  • Irene

    Thank you Christine,
    Both of your post are here at a good time for me. You are a sparkle in my life. You may not realize this however your an extreme encourager to me. I know you are doing great in the recording studio. My intuition agrees with Ben. Here is a quote I recently created.
    “As the wind blows the heart sings and the echoes brings us beautiful angels “

  • vicky

    “Everything in your life is a story you tell yourself”. What a great quote Christine! I just finished reading Louise Hay’s You Can Heal Your Life, in which she says essentially the same thing. What a hurdle to get over the negative self-talk, and by extension, criticising everything around me (even if only to myself). After a couple weeks of this, I feel better, my body feels better (I actually feel the release in my body when I release negative thoughts). Being an Extreme Encourager is a gift you give yourself and others.

  • Sare-Bear


    I haven’t been reading your blog for long, but wanted you to know that you’ve made it on to my favorites list. Your insight, sincerity and capability are inspiring. Thank you for helping the world to become a better place through encouragement and kindness. You are so awesome! *big hugz*


  • Sue

    My favorite thing about encouraging someone is when you are fortunate enough to see a light come on inside them. A light of possibility, the spark of power. I walk away feeling waggy. It’s a gift to both people.
    Thanks for this post and for putting into such great words what the rest of cannot always explain. 🙂

  • chickpea


    Thanks so much for this post. I’ve “got it” much better now. Great to hear of your progress on your CD.

  • Christine Kane

    mimi – i do think the other person has to be willing to take it in. tara (the e-Seminar example above) was willing and open. I couldn’t necessarily have used that level of encouragement on everyone. and the other thing is that it’s not always about doing it so that it will “work.” Some people are quite stuck, and your words might not change a thing for them. But they will do something and that’s where just trusting the process comes in!

    Laura – as i wrote these two posts, I was thinking the exact same thing. It’s about being present, seeing truth and deeply loving and hearing people. Thanks for pointing that out!

    Thanks Mark – as always, it’s good to have your additional thoughts and wisdom!

  • Mark

    Isn’t there some quote – something like, “Treat people as if they were what they ought to be…”

    This helps me when I’m tempted to criticize rather than encourage…and that includes me.

  • Laura

    Hi, Christine! I know your recording session is going easily and effortlessly well, ; )
    Thank you for these two beautiful posts on encouragement. After reading them, I think you could define encouragement as the expression of love. Last November, at my first academic conference, I heard a presentation in which love was defined as “seeing destiny in someone.” Don’t you think that’s what you’re writing about? Hugs from Laura

  • Mindful Mimi

    Hi Christine,
    Just read this and your earlier post on encouragement. It is such an important and powerful tool. I am in my current job because our HR manager believed in me and encouraged me to apply internally. And I have learned so much. I try to encourage people to live their dreams. I try to encourage myself to live mine and am currently in emotional upheaval and doubt on where I want to go and what I want to do. There are so many things and I can’t do them all 🙂 or maybe I can :-0
    I encourage my kids to climb the stairs alone, put on their pants, pee in the pot, dance around the room.
    I have also noticed that encouragement alone does not always do the trick. I encouraged a friend who was just unhappy with her life and finding fault everywhere but within herself. So I kept telling her how pretty she is, how well she would do working with horses etc. But she is still stuck in her dull and stressful office job and works hard to look happy on the outside. So besides encouragement from other people, I know it takes something in the person as well to be willing to make a shift. If they don’t use this encouragement as a trampoline they can’t soar. Then again, maybe my friend did learn something and saw a shift somewhere – sometimes it takes baby steps – maybe I am just not aware of it. And that is fine – I am not looking for a reward – I just want her happiness and I don’t see it yet.
    Have fun recording.