Two people encouraged me today. Both took me by surprise. They made my day!

Photo courtesy of ©123rf/leedsn

Photo courtesy of ©123rf/leedsn (adapted)


In a job that can be very wearing and demanding, we need all the encouragement we can get.

How to harness the good stuff and use it to our advantage…


Both today’s tit-bits of encouragement were exactly that, small things. No fanfare, no great shakes; just a simple injection of positivity into a conversation…

  • “I thought you put that across well” (about a comment I made in a meeting)
  • “Your reply was sensitive and thoughtful” (about an email I sent)

As I said, nothing stupendous. But I’ve been buoyed up all day as a result.
So how can we make the most of encouragement?
[callout]”Most of us, swimming against the tides of trouble the world knows nothing about, need only a bit of praise or encouragement – and we will make the goal.” Jerome P. Fleishman[/callout]

Catch it & keep it… 

I make a point of ensuring I have a good supply of encouragement on hand just in case I need it.
How can this be?
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It’s easy really – you just have to make a point of spotting those nuggets of positivity and keeping them till you need them.

  • Spot it – the first and crucial part of harnessing the power of encouragement is to recognise that that’s what it is. It doesn’t have to be just when people say nice things about us. It can be something very
    Image courtesy of ©123rf/johan2011

    Image courtesy of ©123rf/johan2011


    simple – like a meaningful “thank you” we weren’t expecting. If you’re on the look out for encouragement, you’ll see more of it. Once you see it, you can do something with it…
  • Keep it – I have a couple of ways that I use to ensure I hang on to things like today’s comments.

1. Email folder – One is that I have an email folder set up just for the purpose. It’s actually called, “Encouragement.” So, when someone says something nice in an email-a colleague, training delegate, or whomever-I have a place to put it. Easy! Why not set one up yourself  now?…

2. Evernote – The other way is a dedicated note in Evernote (or whatever notes application you use). Here I can store comments people have made, photos of cards I’ve received or a quick note about a positive situation or encouraging encounter.

3. Cards – I also have a stash of encouraging cards I’ve been sent over the years! I have maybe 20 cards that I keep and read very occasionally. Some from young people or a parent or foster carer, some from colleagues when I changed jobs, Christmas & birthday cards, etc. You get the drift!

Be deliberate…

The trick with keeping hold of your sources of encouragement is to be deliberate. Decide on a way of keeping them-one that’s easy and suits your style-and then make a start!
[callout]”There are high spots in all of our lives and most of them have come about through encouragement from someone else.” George Matthew Adams[/callout]

Use it…

Unopened presents are no good to anyone. Toys only have value when they’re played with.

Image courtesy of ©123rf/Vasya Kobelev

Image courtesy of ©123rf/Vasya Kobelev


Encouragement is the same – you really only appreciate it when you savour it.
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This means dipping into our store of the good stuff and appreciating it. Reminding ourselves, very deliberately, of situations that went well, people who were kind, words that affected us positively and so on.
A store of nice cards can be great, but only if we read them. This is why I always have one or two around so that I can see them from my desk.

Encouraging others…

This is another great subject – how we can use encouragement to build others up, including troubled young people.  More on this in a future post…

What do you think?…

  • How do you work with encouragement? 
  • Do you have other ways to catch it, keep it or use it?…

Please let me know what your thoughts are… Leave a comment below, click here or post it on Facebook or Twitter.
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© Jonny Matthew 2015