The Award of Encouragement

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There have been a handful of times in my life where I have been given an award, or a plaque. I have been given these more in my adult life. As a kid, I was never good at sports. I was a C-D student, and I wasn't athletic. Honor roll, athletic awards, ribbons: they never really came my way.

As an adult, there have been a few times I have been given a plaque, or an award. Those are special, and I in no way want to say that those aren't important to me because they are. I have learned something, that there is something that is worth so much more than an award, or it’s worth so much more than a trophy. It's worth more than a cash prize or a gift; it is a word of encouragement.

Aren't words of encouragement just awesome? I mean, they are awesome. I am actually writing this article right outside of Starbucks. What made me think about writing this article or blog is this; I bought my Starbucks because someone sent me a small little 10 dollar gift card by email just to encourage me.

As I was using that gift card I thought, you know what? Encouragement is so, so powerful. Encouragement: just an encouraging word, a thank you for being there, or an “I appreciate you.” Maybe a “this company is better because of you. This ministry is better because of you. These kids are better because of you. These families are better because of you. This organization is better because of you.” Even tangibly, just saying thank you for arriving early. Thank you for sticking around late. Thanks for putting in the extra mile and delivering that report. Thank you for picking her up, and bringing her over here.

It's been a while since I have said thank you, but let me say thank you. Those words of encouragement, they are fuel to people. They mean the world. Here's the thing, they are grossly, grossly under priced. They are so cheap it doesn't cost you anything to express thanks. It costs you nothing to look someone in the eye and say thank you. It costs you nothing to send somebody a text message and say thank you, but it is so appreciated.

Here's my challenge for you today. I talk to you a lot about eating the frog first. Mark Twain said that if you eat a live frog first thing in the morning, nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day. Here's the live frog I want you to eat today: I want you to think of someone that you can encourage. Then tomorrow, I want you to think of someone else that you can encourage. The next day, I want you to think of someone else you can encourage.

I want you to live in a lifestyle of gratitude. Sometimes people ask me, “Ryan, you're always telling people thanks. Why are you so grateful?” Part of the reason I'm so grateful is because I put systems in my life that will help me be grateful. One of those systems is for about the last eight years I have sent a thank you card to somebody every day of my life. Every day of my life I send somebody a text and say thank you. Every day of my life I try to find at least one person to look them in the eye and to just make their day, to compliment them, and to encourage them.

Those systems in my life help shape my mindset; they make me an appreciative person. I want you to be your team's biggest cheerleader. Your volunteers, your employees, your staff, and your family: I want you to cheer lead them like nobody else because encouragement goes a long way. Are you ready to do it?

Choose to encourage somebody today. Then choose to encourage somebody else, then choose to encourage somebody else, and then choose to encourage somebody else. When you become an encourager, your relational equity with people skyrockets. People love it. People will gravitate towards you. They'll be ready to help you with whatever you need. They'll be there for you, and they'll have a deep appreciation for you because you are appreciating them.

Your #1 fan,

Ryan

Ryan Frank