LEARN A LITTLE:
On Being an Encourager
Have you ever asked yourself the question, “Am I mostly an encourager or a discourager?” I inserted “mostly” into the sentence to make the point that very few of us behave the same way all the time. How you answer the above question makes a difference. In all likelihood, if you view life positively, are an encourager, one who builds people up, energizes them, gives them hope, is uplifting and supportive, people like being around you and may actually seek you out. Encouragement is often times a by-product of optimism and having a positive attitude.
On the other hand, if your first tendency is to be a discourager, one who lowers another person’s spirit, is a good mood buster, is habitually disheartening, someone who bursts the enthusiasm bubble of other people and is often times a critic, don’t be surprised if people avoid you.
It seems that discouragement is often times a by-product of fear, weariness, “comparisonitis,” lack of purpose or poor self-identity.
If you are struggling with a difficult situation in life-like we all encounter sooner or later-who would you call?
If you are not sure where you fall with respect to the encourager/discourager dimension, engage in a self-reflective exercise: after interactions with your boss or subordinates, spouse, kids or work colleagues, rate your response to their stories and dilemmas.
Whether we go to the “dark side” or the bright side is ultimately a choice that we make, although in the moment it might simply be the bad habit that we can’t break.
LAUGH A LITTLE:
REFLECT A LITTLE:
Proverbs 14:17 (TPT)
An impulsive person has a short fuse and can ruin everything, but the wise show self-control.
READ A LITTLE:
Row the Boat
Jon Gordon & P.J. Fleck (John Wiley & Sons, 2021)
This month’s reading selection is Row the Boat, co-written by John Gordon, author of The Positive Dog and P.J. Fleck, head football coach of the University of Minnesota Golden Gophers.
I heartily recommend this book, especially if you follow college football or are interested in competitive sports and leadership. An easy-read, it introduces you to P.J. Fleck, by sharing his background and interest in sports. P.J. began playing football in high school, continued the sport in college and eventually joined the San Francisco 49ers. Although he was only 5’9” and 150 lbs., he was a very successful player. “Find a way,” a lesson he learned from his dad, has stayed with him his entire career.
Also instrumental in his life and professional calling was the impact of the death of his son Colton shortly after his birth. Pain, in fact, fueled his desire to serve others. As you might have guessed, his motivating mantra “Row the Boat” was derived from the little children’s song, “Row, Row, Row Your Boat.”
P.J. sees “Row the boat” as essentially another way of saying, “Don’t give up,” not only in sports, but more importantly, in life. In other words, the authors believe that one should never let life be defined by a situation, circumstances or events. And it is not the only powerful insight they share. Others include:
- The way you handle one thing is the way you handle everything.
- Culture is defined as connecting people positively.
- The more you give up, the harder it is to quit.
- Our internal expectations have to be greater than external expectations.
- The “Row the Boat” lifestyle is about two things: serving and giving.
- Your dream is the journey, not the destination.
It was interesting to learn of Coach Fleck’s successes at Western Michigan University and the University of Minnesota. And while his football story was motivating, so was his success in instilling life lessons in his players. He obviously has a great relationship with his team. I admired his overarching goal: “We teach our players that they should never be a better football player than they are a person.”
And by the way, Minnesota beat archrival Wisconsin this past Saturday.
If you are curious about curiosity this book is for you.
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