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Dante Gabriel Rossetti, a famous 19th-century poet and artist, was once approached by an elderly man.

The old fellow had some sketches and drawings that he wanted Rossetti to look at and tell him if they were any good, or if they at least showed potential talent.

Rossetti looked over them carefully. After the first few, he knew that they were worthless but Rossetti was a kind man, he told the elderly man as gently as possible that the pictures were without much value and showed little talent. He was sorry, but he could not lie to the man. The man was disappointed, but seemed to expect Rossetti’s judgment.

The old man then apologized for taking up Rossetti’s time, but asked him to look at a few more drawings.

Rossetti looked over the second batch of sketches and immediately became enthusiastic over the talent they revealed. “These,” he said, “oh, these are good.”

“This young student has a great talent. He should be given every help and encouragement. He has a great future.”

Rossetti could see that the old fellow was deeply moved.

“Who is this fine young artist?” he asked. ”Your son?”

“No,” said the old man sadly.

“It is me  – 40 years ago. If only I had heard your praise then! For you see, I got discouraged and gave up – too soon.”

Many of us believe that we are self motivated; that we don’t need that ‘rah rah’ positive encouraging stuff to accomplish great things. But think back to a time when you were the most inspired, committed, disciplined and successful at something. It could be a dance audition, an athletic tryout, a championship game, a race you signed up to run or a promotion you received at work. There are numerous examples I could list. What made you believe that you could do it? What influences helped you overcome the struggles it took to be successful in that experience?

Encouragement is a natural human characteristic that God built into each and every one of us. He built us to encourage others and to be encouraged. Many times we don’t recognize it because it is something so subconscious. But in the opposite direction think of a time when you weren’t encouraged; or when you were encouraged in a negative way. Peer Pressure can often fall under these lines.

What I have realized in the years associating with the-life-business community is that encouragement is displayed at every turn. I will be the first to admit that if I am running for a goal and my coach or mentor isn’t encouraging me and telling me, “You can do it,” I will doubt my ability to hit that goal. My belief wavers in myself and I digress in my activity and my motivation to do what it takes. If we are all honest with ourselves we too will admit that encouragement is a key component to success in any situation.

Please take a few minutes to watch this video on the power of encouragement – you will be inspired:

I love that this video can teach so many principles beyond just encouragement.  Matt, who has spastic cerebral palsy, was given the option to sit out field day at Worthington, Ohio’s Colonial Hills Elementary School, but he chose to run in an event instead, despite the challenges of his severe disability. How did this make you feel when watching it? As strong and as determined as Matt was in that race, I bet if his gym teacher and classmates weren’t cheering for him and encouraging him all the way to the end, he may have given up too soon; but instead Matt was able to experience victory because he was encouraged.

Orrin Woodward has set the example in the LIFE organization because he is the first to encourage people at every turn. Who have you encouraged today? What stories have you experienced in your own life that became victories because of encouragement? Would love to hear your thoughts!

Blessings, Kristen

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