The Power of Encouragement
by Jordan Mcgowan
As a society we’re very good at honoring someone’s life after they die. We see this in sports, broadcasting, education, even politics. Someone could have been the most polarizing, controversial figure in Washington, but after he or she dies, suddenly they were a reformer and a patriot.
And these stories inspire us, once we see the impact they’ve had, we want to be like them. It’s the proverbial concept of not knowing what you had until it’s gone.
Imagine if we spent more time realizing what we had while we still have it. What if we spent more time intentionally building up those around us. What if we had a culture of encouragement.
Andy Rooney is a great example. Rooney was an American radio and television writer. He was most notable for his weekly broadcast "A Few Minutes with Andy Rooney," a part of the CBS NEWS program “60 Minutes” from 1978 to 2011. I happened to catch his final segment back in October. He talked about how he got into the journalism business and he credited a high school english teacher that once told him he was a good writer.
I was amazed.
It seemed innocent enough. Of course a high school teacher would encourage good writing ability. But for a young Andy Rooney, that one comment propelled him into a lifetime of writing and journalism.
At Tiger-Rock we try to implement the power of encouragement on a daily basis.
Most people are their own worst critics, so we need people to help us see what we’re doing well and call out the good in us.
Part of the reason we have assistants in every class is so that in addition to giving personalized, constructive criticism, we can also give consistent, personalized encouragement for what each student is doing really well.
Another way we do this is through personal handwritten postcards. Everyday we send out cards to different students identifying something they are doing well and something they can improve on. This personal attention and feedback let’s the students know we are genuinely invested in their training, improvement, and in their development as people..
Another way is through what we call the “Leadership Award”. At the end of each class, an instructor will identify one student that exemplified “Level 10” energy and focus and lead by example
during class. We always ask the students to give their very best while they are in class, so if there is someone that really followed through on that, we want to recognize their effort as leadership in the classroom.
Our vision is that more than just us regularly encouraging our own students, our students would be encouraging each other, and then they would take it to their outside world and encourage and call out the gold in the people around them.
If this began to take shape, if our culture and society started telling people how awesome they are, if our schools were filled with the chatter of blessings and not curses between students, we would see our world transformed.
Make it a priority the rest of this month, especially in this Christmas season, when you think something kind about someone, or notice something they are doing that is worthy of praise, don’t keep it inside, tell them, it will change their day, and maybe their life.
What you’ll find is it will make you come alive as well.