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  • Brian Reynolds

What’s in Your Encouragement File?

I was ‘nudged’ to stop and thank the young salesperson

Just as I was leaving the electronics store I was ‘nudged’ to stop and thank the young salesperson for attempting to solve my computer issue. It’s not that he performed somersaults or jumped through hoops for me. In fact, the store did not have what I actually needed to connect my older laptop to a LCD projector. I explained that I had visited several locations over the past few weeks attempting to find what I needed and who had one. A few salespeople in these other locations appeared to have no genuine interest with my dilemma.Their recommendations to purchase a new laptop and projector were not top of mind for me (or in my budget)! I envisioned walking out with a $15.00 cable and that was it.

His effort and genuine passion to help had caught my attention

I shared how much I really appreciated him taking the time to explain what I needed even though I would probably have to purchase the cable online. His effort and genuine passion to help had caught my attention and I wanted him to know that. He momentarily froze like a statue and I could see a few tears welling up in his eyes and he said, “Nobody has ever said anything to me like that before.” You would have thought I gave him a million bucks!

How Much Does It Cost To Encourage?

Have you ever asked yourself how much it actually costs to encourage someone? Have you ever pondered about the possible impact you may have on someone with a few encouraging words? I’m not sure what author said this. I just read that approximately 750 million people in the world go to bed hungry every night. Millions more go to bed without hearing a single word of encouragement!

Words of Affirmation

Several years ago (okay, many years ago) I started a file of cards, letters and clippings that family, friends and employers had given me. This is no surprise if you know that my primary language of appreciation is words of affirmation. I treasure written words, ‘special words’ that encourage and motivate me. They help me realize that I must have accomplished something or acted thoughtfully towards someone else. The many ‘notes of appreciation’ help to validate my strengths, my talents and skill sets. Occasionally looking back in my file encourages me when I think I’m getting off track. They provide and help focus a renewed energy and a ‘don’t quit attitude!’

The 5 Languages of Appreciation At Work

I recently conducted the 5 Languages of Appreciation session to a wonderful group of volunteers. They share life recovery skills to jailed inmates. I showed them my encouragement file and read one note that was given to me by the president of a company I was employed with. Although it is scribbled in the same manner as a doctor’s prescription – it must have meant and still means a lot to me 26 years later! The fact that the president took the time out of his busy schedule to hand write and recognize my contributions and effort for a successful product launch put me over the top! It did not matter that it was hand-written on a yellow post-it note. That’s why I kept it!

What’s in your encouragement file?

During this same workshop session with the volunteers, I also shared that I did not bring my large, plastic, Rubbermaid bin of bowling trophies and Cub Scout plaques for a show and tell. (They’re still gathering dust in the corner of the shed). The words on the tiny fake gold plates stating that I had the highest average score for the season don’t even come close to the words on the sticky note, ‘Brian, Congratulations! This is an excellent effort.’ Seven words which included my name! What’s in your encouragement file!?

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