Today's society tends to promote the concept of being an island. We find ways to separate ourselves from others rather than being part of a community. We build tall fences around our yards to keep others out. "Too often we start out to build a nest in which to live, from which to fly and to which we return; sometimes we get so involved in building that we eventually build a cocoon completely around ourselves creating a prison." – Fred W. Smith
Everybody needs somebody. None of us achieves anything without the help from others. We all need friends who can help us to persevere through the tough times. We don't grow in isolation.
We hope to be a friend when you are going through those difficult times. We want to be a resource of encouragement and of hope to lift your spirit when it is needed. We want to be a part of your personal community.
The great Muir redwoods have a remarkable root system. These trees do not grow like pines or oaks with individual root systems. Rather, their root systems, while relatively shallow, are completely interconnected. The trees themselves are all outgrowths of a parent tree and they grow around the parent tree in a complete circle. That circle is called a "cathedral." One of their keys to survival is their ability to hold each other up with these merged roots. No known wind can topple them. Virtually no disease can kill them. They thrive in fires. They are knit together inextricably and bound together in the longest living family on record.
That is my image of community. It is not just support from a distance or a noble feeling. It is the realization that we are bound up together for life and woven together through our roots that hold us all up through everything that comes. Not only can we not do it alone, more importantly, we are not meant to do it alone.
"Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others." - Philippians 2:4
"Few things in the world are more powerful than a positive push. A smile. A word of optimism and hope. A 'you can do it' when things are tough." - Richard M. Devos
Everyone needs encouragement. And everyone, young or old, the successful or less-than-successful, unknown or famous, who received encouragement is changed by it.
Encouragements impact can be profound. A word of encouragement from a teacher to a child can change his or her life. A word of encouragement from a spouse can save a marriage. A word of encouragement from a leader can inspire a person to reach their potential.
What does true encouragement look like; the kind that changes lives forever? To encourage people is to help them gain courage they might not otherwise possess - courage to face the day, to do what's right, to take risks, to make a difference. And the heart of encouragement is to communicate a person's value. When we help people feel valuable, capable, and motivated we sometimes see their lives change forever, and then see them go on to change the world.
You have a responsibility to encourage members of your family. If you are a business person, the effectiveness of your team increases in proportion to the amount of encouragement you give the people you work with. You have the privilege of sharing encouraging words with your friends that may help them persevere through a difficult time.
Our goal is to encourage you and in turn we hope that you will pass that encouragement on to others. It has been said that each of us impacts 10,000 other people in our lifetimes. What a difference it would make if our impact on those lives was positive and hopeful. Encouragement changes lives.
We are committed to you, to helping provide encouragement, or a positive word when you and those you know may need it most. We hope to be a part of your every day life, your personal community. Further, we hope you choose to be a part of ours. Subscribe to our newsletter. Tell others about this website. Forward our newsletter to someone you know that could use an encouraging word. It is free, fresh, and filled with wisdom. Read our blog. We are trying to make a difference. Will you help us?
This website, our newsletter, and our blog are all about encouraging you and those around you. George Matthew Adams said it best when he said, "Encouragement is oxygen to the soul." Ideally, we are able to help you breathe a little easier.
Our mission, our purpose for being here is to help others be successful and to strive for excellence in all that we choose to invest our time into. It is summed up in six words: Help make others successful.
Excellence...Always. Those few words challenge me to be at my best so I can help others be at theirs.
The hope for having this website and for publishing our newsletter is to encourage you when you are surviving some external event, to offer hope when things seem hopeless, and to lift your spirit when everything inside of you aches. We will also offer 'how to" insights from time-to-time. If we are able to genuinely help one person, no matter the age or the gender, then we will consider ourselves successful.
Please let us know how we are doing.
Nothing can motivate like adversity. Olympic diver Pat McCormick discusses this point: "I think failure is one of the great motivators. After my narrow loss in the 1948 trials, I knew how really good I could be. It was the defeat that focused all my concentration on my training and goals." McCormick went on to win two gold medals in the Olympics in Helsinki in 1952 and another two in Melbourne four years later.
If you can step back from the negative circumstances facing you, you will be able to discover their positive benefits. That is almost always true; you simply have to be willing to look for them, and not take the adversity you are experiencing too personally.
If you lose your job, think about the resilience you're developing. If you try something daring and survive, evaluate what you learned about yourself and how it will help you take on new challenges. If you experience a train wreck in your career, think of the maturity it's developing in you. Besides, Bill Vaughan maintains that "in the game of life it's a good idea to have a few early losses, which relieve you of the pressure of trying to maintain an undefeated season." Always measure an obstacle next to the size of the dream you're pursuing. It's all in how you look at it.
Embrace the adversities you may be facing in your life and retrain yourself to view them as beneficial.
Our well-being and happiness are tied to the notion that our lives can improve. We hope for a better future for our company, our kids, and ourselves. We dream of a tomorrow that's better and brighter than today.
Here are a few improvements many of us desire to see:
• We hope to lose weight and improve our fitness
• We hope to earn more money and improve our financial standing
• We hope to argue less with our spouse and improve our marriage
Over the next year, if we knew our health would deteriorate, our economic situation would worsen, and our closest relationships would unravel, then we'd be depressed. In fact, even if we knew our lives would stay the same, most of us would feel unsatisfied. We're always looking to improve the quality of our lives - it's human nature.
Unfortunately, many of us never go beyond hoping for improvements to actually making them. I'd like to share some insights to help you improvise your approach to improvement.
The secret of your success is determined by your daily agenda. Leaders who make successful improvements share a common denominator: they form habits of daily action that those who fail to improve never develop. As my friend Andy Stanley says, "Your direction determines your destination." The steps you make each day, for good or ill, eventually chart the path of your life.
Consider the analogy of saving for retirement. Financial advisers counsel us to invest for retirement early in our careers and consistently throughout life. If we do, we can quit working at 65 with a sizeable nest egg. However, if we neglect funding our 401(k) each month, then we end up with nothing. We may still "hope" to win the lottery and secure our financial future, but we've lost the ability to control our fate.
We live in the ultimate quick-fix culture. Everyone wants to be thin, but few people eat healthy and exercise. Everyone wants financial stability, but many refuse to be bothered by a budget. Rather than trouble ourselves with discipline, we opt for diet fads or speculate in the stock market. When we don't see long-term improvements, we discard one fad in favor of another.
In life, there are two kinds of pain: the pain of self-discipline and the pain of regret. The pain of self-discipline involves sacrifice, sweat, and delayed gratification. Thankfully, the reward of improvement softens the pain of self-discipline and makes it worthwhile. The pain of regret begins as a missed opportunity and ends up as squandered talent and an unfulfilled life. Once the pain of regret sets in, there's nothing you can do other than wonder, "What if?"
When trying to improve, we not only risk failure, we guarantee it. The good news is that mistakes generally teach us far more than success. There's no sense pretending we're perfect. Even the best of the best have moments of weakness. That's why it's important to be honest when we fall short, learn from the mistake, and move forward with the knowledge gained.
You cannot manage what you cannot measure. Identify the areas in which improvement is essential to your success and find a way to track your progress. Keeping score holds you accountable and gives you a clear indicator of whether or not you're actually improving.
Continual change is essential for improvement. One of the great paradoxes of success is that the skills and qualities that get you to the top are seldom the ones that keep you there. The quest to improve forces us to abandon assumptions, embrace innovation, and seek new relationships. If we're complacent for too long, we'll fall behind the learning curve. Once this happens, it's a steep, uphill climb to get back to the top.
The desire for improvement has a degree of discontent in it. Personal growth requires apparently contradictory mindsets: humility to realize you have room to grow but also confidence that improvement is possible.
Tips for Attaining Improvement
1. Develop Habits
2. Befriend Discipline
3. Admit Mistakes
4. Measure Progress
5. Change Continually
"If you wait until you can do everything for everybody instead of something for somebody, you'll end up not doing anything for anybody." - Malcolm Bane