FOCUS: Encouragement

Personal Mastery, Mental Models, Systems Thinking

At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us.
— Albert Schweitzer


'Abdu'l-Bahá, son of the founder of the Baha’i Faith, was once asked to describe the Baha’i Faith in a single word. Everyone expected him to say, “Unity,” or “Peace,” because those are right at its core. Instead his response was “Encouragement.”

Here’s the dictionary definition of encouragement: “to inspire with courage, spirit or confidence.”

When I worked as a therapist, I met many people with personal histories so full of sadness, neglect or abuse I wondered how they had survived. Without exception, when I asked “who was it who encouraged you?” there was someone who had made all the difference, an aunt, a grandma, a neighbor, a teacher.

Encouragement is to the soul what water is to the body. There are endless sources of potential encouragement, including nature, one’s faith, inspiring models, poetry, movies. But on a day to day basis, our close relationships offer the biggest opportunity for encouragement…family, friends, co-workers. Research has shown that having an encouraging boss counts more than salary in job satifsfaction.

As many of you know, my precious husband Hal died last month. As I’ve been thinking about him and our marriage, one thing that stands out is his ever-present encouragement of me. He supported and helped me do everything I wanted to do and be. To be so encouraged is an amazing experience – it gave me roots and wings. Encouragement is related to love, of course, but it feels more tangible. Sometimes Hal’s encouragement was just a word or two, as when I’d read him a Fresh Views draft and he’d say, “I like it” or “add a story and it will be great.” Or it could be very concrete, such as offering to drive me to upstate New York to attend a week-long meditation retreat. Mutual encouragement was at the heart of our wonderful marriage.

Think of the impact it would have if encouragement were at the center of each of our relationships.


  1. Who needs your encouragement today at home?

  2. Who needs your encouragement today at work?

  3. What stranger might you encourage in some way? (Clerk? Waitress?)

  4. What miraculous thing is likely to happen if you encourage others?


Please join me for a 45-minute telegathering to explore the more deeply the power and importance of encouragement.  Tuesday, Feb. 28, 2012 at noon Eastern (11:00 a.m. Central, 10:00 a.m. MT, 9:00 a.m. Pacific)  1-218-862-1300 PIN 276583.  No need to register….just call at that time!



Thank you so much for your support of me during the last few weeks. Fresh Views readers are very dear to my heart. I have kept an online journal if you want to know about Hal's death and my grieving process. Find it here:

Reach me: 1-888-907-HOPE (4673)or e-mail I am a personal and executive coach and would be happy to offer you a complimentary coaching session by phone. Each month FRESH VIEWS focuses on a single topic, relates it to one of the five disciplines of a learning community, and offers a coaching tip and a follow-up telegathering. Please forward it to friends and colleagues. My purpose in writing FRESH VIEWS is to nurture, prod and encourage readers to think and talk about these topics with their families, friends and colleagues. Mine is only one view. Multiple conversations may deliver us to insights only hinted at here. Such a process sustains the vitality of learning relationships, learning families, learning organizations and learning communities.

Sharon Eakes | 720 Maple Lane | Sewickley, PA 15143

Fresh Views E-zine Index

720 Maple Lane, Sewickley, PA 15143
TOLL-FREE: 1(888) 769-3494
FAX: (412) 741-2159