No matter how strong or independent we might think that we are, we all need encouragement. When we have kids, we encourage them all of the time; whether they are walking for the first time or going through potty training. We all started our lives with so much encouragement only to feel it fade away into cynicism. After encouraging comes guiding and directing, which is followed by a little criticism before we simply stop doing anything for our kids. “They’re adults, they will have to figure it out” is how we justify doing nothing. Sure, as young adults we keep trying and they keep resisting and we eventually just stop trying to “help”. It’s not this way for all kids, but most. This attitude also takes over at work with us. We rarely encourage co-workers or hear encouragement from others. I would suggest that our human soul needs it, otherwise we become so cynical that we can seem negative. Sports teams are full of encouraging moments on the bench. Watch a team score a touchdown or a player hit a homerun and you will see encouragement at its peak. Supervisors have a responsibility to encourage their people along the way. Not every hit is a homerun but sometimes the only thing driving people to try harder is a little encouragement. For me, I’d been working about 12 years before I heard someone say, “great job”. Perhaps it was the first time I actually did something right. Seriously, I was on a pretty successful career path at the time but I don’t know what motivated me. Supervisors in my life simply didn’t acknowledge good work. We need to change that. I often use restaurant servers as examples because I watch them as they work and these people work hard! Tell them what a nice job they did for you. An extra tip says one thing but taking the time to tell them how they did will mean the world. Then, take that concept and start spreading it to multiple aspects of your life, watch people’s reaction and sit back and smile.
“The Lord Himself goes before you and will be with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” Deuteronomy 31:8
Have you ever had one of those crazy experiences or maybe even a horrible string of days at work and when it was over wonder how you made it through it all? Where do you find your strength and inspiration? Some of us can be motivated or inspired by other people and others by greed and winning. If you are reading this blog, my guess is that the latter doesn’t do much for you. Sure, people can be motivating and we can be inspired by the strength or wisdom of someone but behind it all is the Lord Himself. He goes before you to light paths and order things so that those people are in your life. They may be put there years before He needs to use them, but He knows what is best for you. Stop and think about all of the really horrible things that have happened in your life and then think about the places, people and circumstances that kept you going or helped you know how to manage it. At the time they seemed random but if you carefully look back, you will see God at work. He promised to never leave you so do not be afraid or discouraged; God is right there with you – every step of the way.