Encourage Each Other
To encourage each other is one of the greatest gifts you can give to a friend, colleague or spouse. It is something missing from our society as competition, revenge, and even jealousy rips through our relationships. As you encourage each other, you inspire others to reach their potential. The principles Greg and I discuss in the podcast show apply not only to spousal relationships, but to friends and colleagues.
As spouses, we have found that an attitude of gratefulness and flexibility have helped grow our relationship immensely through the years. But there are also other helpful principles that directly apply to many of the relationships in our lives. We cover five principles here. Compliment, See Potential, Listen, and Show Interest with Flexibility and Gratefulness.
One: Compliment, Don't Compete
We live in an age of competition with social media influencers and so-called stars. Most readers know the feeling when you check in on a post you’ve put your heart and soul behind to have just a few likes compared to a colleague’s hundreds or even thousands of responses. Much of that is on the surface and doesn’t demonstrate true impact but we forget that all too often.
How long has it been since you’ve seen or read something from a friend or colleague and contacted them personally to tell them of its positive impact? Complimenting tends to be easier for some colleagues than spouses, which is unfortunate. Spouses should serve as each other’s number one fan. Many times that commitment fades with family and work responsibilities as the years go by. Or they just tend to take advantage of each other with rising expectations.
I want to encourage all to nurture that relationship, no matter how far along you are. Most start out strong, but by lifting others up, helping them feel better about themselves, that tends to be multiplied in reciprocity.
Two: See Their Potential
A valuable human being sees the potential in others and can appreciate their gifts. One of my favorite sayings from a colleague who trains speakers is Get over yourself. There are so many posers out to just sell, sell, sell. And that puts the focus on them not on you, even though they offer something they say is perfect for you. We should be wary with the number of so-called experts.
There are many people who can’t see the potential in themselves. When others see that potential and call it out, it is truly a gift. To be honest, this took me some time to understand my husband’s type-B thoughtful personality. I’m a type-A project queen and when I finally understood how valuable his process was thinking through issues, my attitude changed. He wasn’t putting things off, he was thinking through them.
As I continue now to bounce ideas off him, I know the ones he thinks though and responds to could be worth pursuing. There are only so many hard-chargers in the world, like Bill Gates, who works 12-15 hours a day. We need each other’s differences to balance out our lives.
Three: Be Quick to Listen, Slow to Speak
How often do you sit down and realize no one has asked you another question besides, How are you? Or, What do you do? Few people really know how to ask questions beyond the basic, normal stock inquiry mainly because they long to be known. The faster they can focus on everything going on in their lives, the better.
This is especially true for introverts. I know this extremely well. I’m an intentional extrovert, having performed for years on so many large stages, but I gather energy from working by myself. I rarely tend to speak up about all that’s going on in my life, so I really appreciate and take note of the people to ask more than the customary salutations.
I suggest you come up with a list of questions you can ask. And it always works to listen carefully then ask further questions based on what you hear. That has been the joy I’ve had of producing interviews for my Women at Halftime Podcast. It’s truly fun to see where some of those conversations land. For a great book on the value of listening, see Never Split the Difference by Chris Voss.
Four: Show Genuine Interest
If you start asking more questions by listening carefully, it will communicate genuine interest. For spouses and couples, finding things to do together is also a way to encourage each other. I married a pro athlete who was a baseball player. I had maybe attended one baseball game in my life. But the more I found out about the game, it not only made it more interesting to me, but encouraged my husband.
Doing the research does takes time. When I read catcher Jason Kendall’s Throwback book, I realized how much strategy and research was behind the game. The shocked look on my husband’s face was worth the effort when I started then to intrinsically understand to explain some of the plays.
It is a worthwhile effort to do even a little research in an area of interest for a friend or valued colleague. The appreciation you show by doing so will be as rewarding to you as to them!
Five: Be Flexible and Grateful
Flexibility and gratefulness are two of the most valuable ways to encourage each other. With our self-focus stressful lives, showing appreciation and gratitude goes a long way to encourage each other, no matter the relationship. Giving each other space to work, grow and just be is truly a gift.
It doesn’t matter how big the house or office, enjoy all the moments you can, and realize there’s always more time and space to finish projects, clean up messes and enjoy life. A grateful heart is others focused and not only lifts others up, but it will lower your stress and encourage you as well. Give compliments, see potential and listen with interest. With all those, you will communicate flexibility and gratefulness in many ways.
If you start asking more questions by listening carefully,
it will communicate genuine interest.
Thought Leader, Keynote Speaker, Author
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