During a recent training session, a work colleague spoke of applying the three key principles from popular business book Gung Ho! by Ken Blanchard & Sheldon Bowles. She explained each principle, including the ‘Gift of the Goose’, which likened the honking of geese in flight to a ‘you can do it’ type of encouragement.
I thought this was a great model.
Encouragement. How much we need it on life’s long journeys.
At a recent writer’s conference I attended, one speaker* provided her session attendees an elegant sheet of paper so they could write an encouraging note to someone at the conference. This opportunity was a valuable reminder that encouragement doesn’t have to be difficult, but it does involve action. If you’re anything like me, all too often we think ‘I’ll do that later’, but never do.
I consider myself a fairly encouraging person, but when a member of my husband’s family recently passed away, I recognised how easily such moments can slip by. This particular relative had relocated some years previous, and for various reasons had become quite isolated. With great sadness I remembered many well intended thoughts of calling or sending a note of thanks and encouragement for their thoughtfulness. I seldom got beyond purchasing the card or digging out their address.
I’m not aiming for a guilt trip, but I identify the immense value of encouragement in my life. If you’re a Twitter or Facebook follower, you’d know that at that writer’s conference I received a CALEB Prize for an unpublished YA manuscript. As one of the prize recipients I was excited, honoured, humbled and overwhelmed all at once. Yet that moment also belonged to many others – family, friends, writing group members and colleagues – who have offered consistent support and encouragement over the years, believing in me even when my own confidence failed.
But perhaps those closest to us, the ones who make such generous allowances for our hectic lifestyles and busyness, can become the easiest to overlook when it comes to returning encouragement.
A close friend once said that if she could convert every thought she had for me into a letter or phone call, I’d hear from her almost every day. I believe that encouragement is a little like that – but often it doesn’t get beyond the thought. Maybe if we exercise our ‘goose gift’ we can more readily convert our good intentions into a honk of support!