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8 simple things you can do to encourage others

These days, much of my free time is focused intently on either writing articles or investigating business opportunities. I can say I’ve mostly eliminated excessive time wasting activities like playing on the Xbox, watching TV and browsing Digg. I’m feeling more productive and I’m getting things done. Life is good!

However, as with anything worth accomplishing, I understand my transition to a full-time Entrepreneur will naturally take time and perseverance. Which is why I’d like to say thank you to my family and friends. They’ve been helping by providing encouragement especially during periods when I was feeling down and demotivated. In case you’re wondering, this happens every now and then, in particular when I’m trying to overcome my self imposed limitations. This writing gig is hard work!

Let me share with you a few techniques of encouraging others I have observed which works. I can pretty much vouch for each of these because they have been applied on me at one stage or another.

  • Show genuine interest. I believe this is by far the most effective way of encouraging others. Let them know you care. Express genuine interest by asking questions. Get them talking. I find the act of talking and thinking can fire up the engines (roar!). With some hope and luck, this can lead to positive action. But don’t be fake about it and don’t go overboard.
  • Acknowledge what’s important to them. When you acknowledge what’s important to others, you provide a form of affirmation and validation about who they are and what they’re doing. Whether they can admit it or not, each of them deep down craves this acknowledgement. The affirmation and validation is like nitro for their confidence and self-esteem.
  • Say “Well done”. Nothing worth doing is ever easy. If it’s easy, then it’s not worth doing. Worthwhile things always takes time and effort. One good way of providing encouragement is simply by saying “Well done” or “Congratulations”. These magical Words of Encouragement at the right time can make all the difference between “keep going” and “give up”.
  • Say “Thank you”. Common courtesy. Good manners. That what this tip is about. It’s only natural to expect a reward after hard work. It’s only natural to thank someone when they do something for you. You can start now. Thank your wife after she cooks a nice meal. Thank your friend for lending you that Stargate DVD. A simple thank you lets others know what they have done is worthwhile and meaningful to you.
  • Reciprocate the favour. If someone does something nice for you, a great way to show your appreciation is simply to reciprocate the favour. Think of this as a pendulum. They do something nice for you. You do something nice for them. They do something nice for you. You do something nice for them. And so on…
  • Respond with something unexpected. Another effective way to encourage others is to respond with something totally unexpected. Out of the blue. That’s when the maximum impact is delivered. Such acts can reach them at an emotional level and our brains are hard wired to respond to emotional things.
  • Ask for advice or confide in them. This is like flattery. Haven’t you felt like you were on top of the world when your peers asked you for advice or confided in you about something personal or important to them? Didn’t that make you want to help and do everything you can to ensure their faith in you is well founded?
  • Offer to lend a hand. Waiting for someone to ask you for advice is passive. You can be proactive by offering to lend a hand. If that person sees that you are willing to commit your own time and energy in their interests, they will be more committed to seeing it through and less likely to give up themselves.

In my experience, whenever my family and friends have shown genuine interest in my goals, I became more enthusiastic myself. Often my wife would ask – “How am I going?” or “What are you looking at now?” or “I like your latest article”. Simple words? Perhaps. But delivered at the right time, the effect is profound! I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – enlist your family and friends in your cause.

Do you have a spouse or friend who is trying to accomplish something and you need to provide encouragement? Do you have a child who is thinking about a certain vocation but is unsure? Perhaps, your son or daughter would like to pursue a career in the arts, interior design or as a sports athlete? If you do, then they are going to need as much encouragement as they can get.

Giving encouragement can boost that person’s motivation, which in turn lead to actions and finally results. As I’ve previously written, personal development is about incremental changes and step by step improvements. Only in this manner can we inch closer to fulfilling greater and more ambitious goals.

So, start now. As a recipient of encouragement, I can attest to its effects. I’m feeling great. I’m feeling positive. I’m getting things done.

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