One of the things that I have learned many years ago is that we should never assume, that at any given moment, the person we are speaking with or communicating with does not need a word of encouragement or appreciation. And whether we are in the same boat or not, receiving a little positive feedback never hurt any of us, has it?

Just imagine for a moment that someone we work with, maybe a customer, or even a close friend who we know and trust, said to us, “I think that you are tremendously amazing.”

My guess is that it would probably feel pretty good. That one statement, said in less than two seconds, could be a game-changer to anyone who receives such an impactful message.

Just like offering kindness, giving a well-deserved compliment costs us absolutely nothing. As a matter of fact, most times providing sincere praise provides a huge return of appreciation, loyalty and trust. Notice the word sincere. When we share with someone our gratitude for their friendship, guidance, service or presence in our lives, it must be because we are truly grateful and because they are, tremendously amazing.

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There is a popular statement among business professionals, owners, and salespeople, and it is based on the book by Rick Page titled “Hope is Not a Strategy.” In this context, hoping to grow our business or hoping that we will make a sale without a solid strategic and tactical plan is true.

Hope is not a strategy.

However, there are times where hope is the absolute best strategy and approach. The business owner without hope to better serve their customers or community will settle for the low-hanging fruit and more than likely accept mediocrity from themselves, their employees, and the products or services they provide. The salesperson who only focuses on making a deal, with no focus on developing winning relationships is likely operating without the proper context of hope. Hope in business and in selling eliminates a “One and Done” or “One Hit Wonder” mentality.

Conversely, the business owner, the salesperson, and each one of us who has hope, works with hope, and lives with hope, is more likely to move from the simple practice of “hoping” and into the planning, doing, and achievement required to reach our dreams and goals. Hope drives change. Hope adds the “will” to our “skill.” Hope powered by encouragement creates a completely different mindset…

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Here we are, four weeks out from ringing in another New Year. Many of us can’t wait to put 2020 in the rearview mirror. These last 11 months are difficult to describe in one word, it’s even hard to describe them in just a few words without finding something negative, sad, or troubling to say, so yes, the rearview mirror analogy could be an excellent way to try and put it all behind us.

However, it’s only a good strategy if we make sure that we can shift our focus on what is in front of us, not only on what’s behind us.

“See, when you drive home today, you’ve got a big windshield on the front of your car. And you’ve got a little bitty rearview mirror. And the reason the windshield is so large and the rearview mirror is so small is because what’s happened in your past is not near as important as what’s in your future.” – Joel Osteen

Success is a funny thing as we can see others succeeding where we feel like we have not.

Whatever they touch turns to gold. They simply have a knack for being successful at whatever they endeavor to do. Even in a difficult COVID year, they were still able to meet with success. What’s the difference? The difference is in the way we see ourselves…

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One question that I seem to be getting more of these days is around motivation. Not only are people asking how to get motivated, but they are also asking how they can stay motivated.

People often say that motivation doesn’t really last. Well, neither does bathing, that’s why we recommend it daily. – Zig Ziglar

Ziglar certainly knew a lot about how to motivate us and more importantly how to keep us motivated. And he would also be the first one to remind us that motivation is temporary unless it is coupled with action. It is one thing to be motivated about setting a goal or getting inspired by the thought of a new project, and it is something completely different in taking the actions necessary to achieve our goals or complete our projects.

Sometimes we can use a motivated mindset as the spark that leads us to take the actions necessary for our productivity or success.

For some of us, this is how we are wired. When we are feeling good and life is better than good, finding sources of motivation is easy, our creativity is inspired, we are filled with hope, and we end up crushing our tasks and to-do lists. When we are feeling motivated, we may exercise a little longer and push a little harder.

When we are feeling motivated, we may make better choices in what we do, what we eat, and how we treat our bodies.

But what happens when we aren’t feeling so good, or when life isn’t going quite the way we want it to be going? What happens when we really don’t feel like exercising, going to work, or staying on our eating plan?

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Sometimes it is the current or the wave that gets all the attention, but maybe we can first begin by talking about the pebble and the ripple, and even our own role as either one in the creation of those rippling waters, currents, and waves.

As we do, there are a few things about being the pebble or the ripple that we should keep in mind.

The first is that there are times where we can be both, making our initial splash or point, and then doing our best to perpetuate a shared feeling or message.

The second thing to consider is that both the pebble and the ripple can either be positively charged or negatively driven.

And lastly, most times the pebbles that generate the biggest ripples are the same ones that carry the message the farthest and have the greatest impact.

Some throw pebbles of negativity, trying to do as much damage to the calm of the water as possible without a care for the lingering effect those ripples may have on anything or anyone in their path. Others cast pebbles with a clear sense of purpose and desired outcome…

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Hope may not be a strategy, but then again it just might be, especially when we tie it to encouragement.

Although I have personally limited the amount of time I spend reading or watching the news, and have scaled back on the time I spend on certain social media platforms, it seems like I still find news and posts that focus on what seems hopeless instead of what is possible. We all see how some choose to tear others down instead of putting their energy into the encouragement of a better and positive outcome.

Perhaps hope and encouragement are not top of mind for everyone. And if that’s you, it’s OK. We are living in unprecedented times that may have eroded our once hopeful disposition. And if you find yourself feeling this way, one of the best ways we can regain our hope is to find a way to encourage others around us.

With a little spark of hope and with the encouragement of others, the possibilities of what we can do become endless. Some of us have tremendous hope, but that may have not always been the case. Those who are filled with hope today may have been feeling hopeless yesterday. And then one day someone showed them a little encouragement, and with a little encouragement and a little hope, who knows what we can accomplish?…

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