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Encouragement

Cheerleader Ava
Creative Commons License photo credit: downing.amanda
Who can you encourage today?

Today, while I was out walking the dog, I ran into an occasional dog acquaintance.  When I first met her, she was working out of her home and had a relatively flexible schedule.  I would see her a couple of mornings a week.  Then she disappeared.  Actually, she had transitioned into a “corporate job” and was walking her dogs at 5:30 in the morning, so from my point of view, she had disappeared.

About a month ago, she took a vacation day, and I saw her and the dogs again.  We talked for a while and I told her about BouncebackCafe.com (BBC).  I saw her again today and what was truly phenomenal was that she had read BBC and LOVED it.  It was encouragement, when I truly needed it.

Now, you may not know this, but one of the challenges of writing a blog is that feedback is scarce.  When you train a live class, you get all kinds of feedback.  Participants either stay awake or fall asleep (affectionately known in the industry as FOF – forehead on formica.)  They understand or they don’t.  They fill out the smile sheets and they love you…  or they don’t.  Either way, it’s feedback and the advantage to feedback is that you can try to fix what isn’t working.

Ellie and I have been writing this blog since the last week in May and have been hearing through the grapevine (some of you send us emails instead of commenting), that you like what you’re reading – at least enough of the time to return and try again.  But, sometimes, it’s a little like talking to ourselves – and as much as I like the sound of my own voice, I know I learn more when listening (or reading) than when I’m yakking on and on and on.

The Topic Grab Bag

Let me explain the science of writing a blog.  First of all, it takes however long it takes.  When I sit down to write, I start with an idea for a topic.  If I’m lucky, I have some sort of a story to start with, that at least in theory relates to the topic.  I just start writing the story and one of two things happens; the story and topic come together and I have an article OR either the story or the topic or both don’t work and I set that one aside for another day and I start all over.  Like I said, it takes however long it takes.

I usually listen to music while I’m writing because it’s better than listening to the silence of no ideas at all.  This morning that created a “situation.”  I had just returned to my desk with a full cup of coffee.  I picked up the ear buds to put them in my ears and PLOP, the right one went for a swim in my coffee.  I quickly rescued it from the coffee cup and the rubbery cap was GONE!  I’m thinking, “Oh, CRAP, I’m going to have to stick my fingers in the coffee and feel around for the cap!” when I notice that the cap had not wanted to go for a swim and instead had chosen to skydive onto the floor.  I managed to clean everything up and get back to work, but trust me it was either laugh or cry.  Luckily, I could laugh – no easy feat since when I was making the coffee, the filter had malfunctioned and I had grounds in my cup in addition to errant ear buds.  OY!!!

Back to Encouragement

In this blog we focus on recovering from adversity A LOT.  We believe that it’s an important topic because, no matter what, we all have things that don’t go right.  The real issue, I think, isn’t that there is adversity – it is where we meet the adversity.

Dropping your ear bud in your coffee isn’t life threatening.  It’s actually a little funny when you go to put it on and you notice it’s not there – where did it go – IT’S IN THE COFFEE, OH MY GOSH!!!  Unless, where you’re starting from is so low that you have to look up to see the bottom of the pit.  Then, instead of laughing, you start crying.

And that’s why we have to remember to cheer each other on.  It isn’t always about the adversity, it’s about keeping an attitude and energy level that gives us the ability to continue doing what we must.  Part of how we keep going and growing is through the encouragement of our friends.

One of my neighbors absolutely amazes me.  I can NOT figure out where she gets the energy, or the time, to do everything that she does.  She has three girls who are VERY involved in sports.  Not only does she run them to school, practices, and special skills coaching, but she spends most weekends cheering one or all of them on at their various events – none of which are anywhere near home.  For her to keep doing this, someone needs to be cheering her on.  Her girls are good kids, but they are teenagers and like all teens can be oblivious sometimes.  Cheering her on, telling her she’s doing a good job, helps fill up the tank so she can keep going.

Another friend of mine encourages Ellie and me by making suggestions about how to make BBC better.  She recommends us to her friends and actively thinks about how she can help us be successful.  That kind of encouragement is priceless!

Pass It On – RAH! RAH!

Being a dog owner is good training for being a cheerleader.  Every time the dog does something good, you reinforce it by praising the behavior.  “Good sit.”  “Good stay.”  “Good not-eating-my-shoe.”  Dogs do things for their own reasons – just like humans – and one of those reasons is the love and approval of the pack members.  Praise them often and correct occasionally and you will get the behaviors you want.

The same is true for your family and friends – praise often.  Cheer on.  Encourage regularly.  Who can you encourage today?  It may mean the difference between laughing and crying.

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Cup o’ Inspiration

cup with steam swirl

Take a short break and consider the following:

“You need to be aware of what others are doing, applaud their efforts, acknowledge their successes, and encourage them in their pursuits. When we all help one another, everybody wins.”

Jim Stovall

Recommended Reading

Image of Life Is Good: A Guided Gratitude Journal (Guided Journals)
Image of Organizing from the Right Side of the Brain: A Creative Approach to Getting Organized
Image of Steering by Starlight: The Science and Magic of Finding Your Destiny
Image of Lucky Man: A Memoir