When was the last time someone said a kind word to you? or the last time you said a kind word to someone else? I am constantly amazed by the power of words to heal or hurt. I know that my life has been completely changed by just a few words of encouragement scattered here and there at pivotal moments in my growth. Whether it was my parents, sister, friend, or teacher – a word or two of “hey, I really like that”, or “you have a real talent for that” can set your course and lead you into areas you would not have discovered on your own.
“Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless.” Mother Teresa
In the corporate world, employees often receive “performance reviews” and ratings that focus on correction or “areas of improvement”. How much more valuable and effective would it be if the evaluations focused on encouragement only and ignored the rest? I would love to conduct an experiment, evaluate the impact of encouragement on employee morale. For when we believe in ourselves, we are motivated, we are inspired, we are productive.
“When you have once seen the glow of happiness on the face of a beloved person, you know that a man can have no vocation but to awaken the light on [all] the faces surrounding him.” Albert Camus
In the eyes of a child, it can be transformational to say the words, “I believe in you.” It can define a person and create a ripple effect on all who surround him. Mary Barnett Gilson says “…there are persons who seem to have overcome obstacles and by character and perseverance to have risen to the top. But we have no record of the numbers of able persons who fall by the wayside, persons who, with enough encouragement and opportunity, might make great contributions.”
Encouragement… Don’t be afraid to give it. Graciously receive it. And watch how your world blooms.