There’s a famous line in a country music song that many farmers can relate to.
“Some days are diamonds,” sang John Denver, “…some days are stones.”
I had one of those stone days once.
It’s the type of day when everything closes in, everywhere you look there’s another job to do.
All you can see is the fact that there’s a problem of the ‘three-hard-hours’ kind in all four directions.
Mostly it’s a mounting series of heartbreaks the weather and the bank had colluded on that makes farmers, like I used to be, stressed.
And, some days, very unhappy.
On a hot afternoon like that, just as I was riding towards the shed, in front of my brother, I skidded and fell off my motorbike.
There’s something about injury and embarrassment, on a stone day, that can make you lose it.
I lost it, it was too much. I cried, a grown man crying in the dust, motorbike wheel spinning beside me.
I tell you this story, because what happened next is what some of the best moments of my life, and my foundation, are all about.
My brother Peter picked me up, dusted me off.
I wish I could remember the exact words he said but it doesn’t matter.
What it amounted to was a moment, a moment of encouragement that made all the difference.
It is a simple as this:
I was given courage to get up and keep going.
The definition of encouragement is to talk or behave in a way that gives someone confidence to do something.
As humans, whether it’s a diamond or a stone day, we experience around 20,000 individual moments in a waking day, according to the experts.
Each “moment” lasts a few seconds.
If you consider any strong memory — positive or negative — you’ll notice that the imagery in your mind is defined by your recollection of a precise point in time.
Rarely does a neutral encounter stay in your mind — the memorable moments are almost always positive or negative.
In some cases, a single encounter can change your life forever.
The true power of the words and actions of a person who encourages goes to the heart of The Encouragement Foundation’s mission.
We believe the ability to detect the moment when someone needs courage – and to give it – is one of the most important skills in the world.
The Encouragement Foundation’s mission is to make encouraging others easy, rewarding, inspiring and fun.
We all know some moments are profound, but even less memorable interactions are important, too.
Positive psychology experts are finding that the frequency of small, positive acts is critical.
It could not be more obvious that right now that the world needs more encouragement, more often, from more directions than ever before.
At our Foundation, we believe three elements support the awesome power of encouragement to change individual lives, families, communities and businesses.
Number 1 – To encourage is to mentally support, give courage or spirit.
Our confidence is often at its lowest level after a personal setback or disappointment.
In that moment, encouragement is not the same as motivation. Motivation gets people to try harder.
Encouragement gets them to try in the first place, and to keep on trying.
So while motivation can increase the desire to succeed, polish some talent and help develop career strategies, many studies have shown that we massively underestimate the importance of encouragement when it comes to helping people reach their goals.
We believe that with the right support, every person can cope more effectively with challenges, rise above them, and achieve exceptional results.
We are dedicated to the art and science of encouragement by developing and promoting models, systems and examples to inspire millions of those ‘moments of encouragement’ that can make a radical difference to people’s lives.
From Encouragement House, our 120 bed boarding school in East Timor, to many and varied campaigns and projects to support encouraging organisations and people, we are creating opportunities to power a movement.
This is a movement is built on the experience of witnessing in ourselves and others the change in confidence, and therefore results, that true encouragement, at exactly the right moment, gives us all.
Number 2– To encourage is to spur on, to strongly recommend.
The term Confidence is a 500 year-old word which means the ability to “trust or rely on one’s own powers, resources, or circumstances, a self-assurance”.
The Encouragement Foundation is dedicated to providing the tools and skills for greater confidence in every area of your life.
Number 3 – To encourage is to foster, give help or patronage.
Encouragement is a gift, free to give and free to receive.
The real power of encouragement is the fact that at the moment of the interaction, two people are encouraged – the giver and the receiver.
We exist to help people understand the life-changing benefits of becoming an encourager, … a person who gives heart, emboldens and inspires others.
When the world is changing so fast and the challenges to adapt are becoming increasingly harder, we know that encouraging moments prevent us from giving up.
Giving up is one of the worst injustices you can do to yourself.
If you can get your next ounce of energy from positive words pushing you to move forward, you need to seek them out and surround yourself with encouragers as much as you can.
Trust me, the people behind the Encouragement Foundation have had many diamond days and many, many stone days, but these days, collectively, they have forged a mission.
We want to create a movement to inspire millions of ‘moments of encouragement’.
We believe that when we stick together and explore the true power of encouragement in action we can make a radical difference to people’s lives and our rapidly changing world.
We hope you can join us.