Sounds political doesn’t it? Conspiracy, oooooh!
But I’m not talking about some political novel or the latest scandal from some government. I’m talking about how you can build up a disciple, a leader or a student, and they often don’t even see it coming as you help them to be better at what they do.
It’s a conspiracy as you use encouraging words, affirming actions and recognition of their successes to nurture their discipleship or leadership. The pieces of your encouragement subtly build them up, like a conspiracy, to be what they need to be.
So, it’s a good conspiracy not a nefarious plot to get power or wealth.
Now, it’s important to keep in mind that encouragement isn’t about telling someone they are doing a good job when they ‘re not. The encouragement needs to be real. They need to see that you’re speaking truth to them not just flattering them.
The encouragement needs to be real
Encouragement is something that far too few people receive in their work or their home life or even in their recreational pursuits. And with a lack of encouragement no wonder many people give up and quit at so many things.
I had a job as an 18 year old as a Management Trainee in a chain bookstore. I enjoyed the training and was growing into my role in an established store working with an experienced manager. But after a few months, a manager was needed in another store in a far off city and they put me in that role. There were struggles in that store from a couple of long time employees and particular difficulties due to the location.
I struggled for a few months and felt like things were getting worse and worse. There were few moments of joy and no real encouragement. I felt like I was sinking in quicksand. In frustration I quit. I moved on.
Months later, I heard through an acquaintance that the regional boss didn’t understand why I quit. He thought I was doing a good job and growing in my role. I was shocked — he’d never told me that. I was on my own. With only my own doubts gnawing away.
Doubt and lack of self-confidence is very common for people. We are our own worst critics. We compare ourselves in our weakness to others in their strengths. And we need to be nurtured in our roles, encouraged for what we’re doing right and corrected in what we’re doing wrong or we will never know.
People need to be encouraged
You can probably point to one of two things from your experience. First, either a leader, teacher or coach who affirmed you and encouraged you in something you were pursuing. Or second, a time you received little or no input and quit something you were pursuing. I am convinced that far too many people never hear an encouraging word.
Btw, even corrective words can be encouraging as they help us to do better! It means the leader/teach/coach thinks you are capable of doing better and want to help you. People want to be mentored or coached. They want to do better than they are doing!
So, who are you in a position to encourage today?
I used to have a sign on my desk that asked simply, “Who have I encouraged today?” As a Pastor working with youth, youth leaders, Sunday school teachers, parents and leaders of other ministry areas I had a wide field of people who needed to hear an encouraging word. And it can even be someone who is not under your leadership. That’s a neat opportunity.
And you know how you are probably your hardest critic? So are they! Most people are hard on themselves. They think they’re not good leaders, teachers, parents or whatever.
As a Youth Pastor, one of my favourite opportunities for encouragement was with parents of teens. I would make a point of telling a parent what a great job their teen did in something. Most parents were surprised to hear it! Parents need to know their kids are doing well.That reflects not just on the teen but the parent as well.
So, what do you say, want to take on the conspiracy of encouragement? Sneak up on someone and encourage them for something you’re seeing them do well. It’s pretty fun.