Why Encouragement

When we think of encouragement we place in our mind the building up of others in words and actions.  Simply said it means to place “Courage” inside of the other person.  Do you remember the Cowardly Lion in The Wizard of Oz?


The Lion felt like he was inferior to others, he felt that he couldn’t be depended upon to come to the rescue of his friends when he was very strong and very meek.  Meekness is not weakness as some would say but meekness means power under control.  This is what the Lion had and didn’t know, he was meek.  What the Lion needed was that inner courage that would give him the confidence that he so desired.

Many times, we have a picture of ourselves where we often compare ourselves to others by their appearance or words.  Confident people are often meek in that they think out their purpose and don’t often conflict with others. Confident people will weigh the consequence of their own actions and understand that things might get worse before they get better.  This is where the Lion was in his life.  He needed someone to confirm in him that he was indeed strong and confident and to give him permission to be the protector.  The Lion needed someone to encourage him.

  I have worked with some of the best minds in the business from manufacturing to institutional services and have found that even the Presidents of large companies often need encouragement.  While they may be the top in their field, they realize that their staff depend on their decisions to guide the company and these Presidents and CEO’s will often question themselves.  “Am I doing the right thing?” is the question they most often ask themselves when they know the answer is yes.  Here is where encouragement is a necessity.  Encourage comes from the French word of Cour meaning the heart.  Remember this quote, “Big People think with a Big Heart.”

True encouragement is more that stating to someone that they can do it, it’s more than telling a team that they have another chance next year.  Encouragement is an Art where we tell the truth in order to build confidence in the heart of the other. 

Encouragement starts by pulling out the good and the bad of past events and separating them into parts that can be studied.  Encouragers are those that analyze each situation and explain to the hearers that there are reasons the thing was a success or a failure.  Encouragers define the points that need to be replicated and also those that need to be refined.

When a football team is winning at half time there is an air of excitement in the locker room.  An encourager coach will build the team up with phrases like, “you are the best team on the field tonight”, or “This is why we practice so hard through the week guys, so we can prove we are a winning team.” Then the encourager coach will go on to recognize the plays that put that team ahead, he will also recognize the things that the team can do better.  He does all of this to build confidence in his team and to prepare them for what the other coach is telling his team.

Meanwhile the team with the lower score on the board hears a different message from their coach.  An abusive coach will tell the team how poor they are playing and why they are losers. An encourager coach will start off by telling the team that they can do better.  He says he knows they have the ability to go back out in the second half and be a better team.  That same encourager coach then does the same thing with his team, he finds the things that were a success and recognizes them and he also points out the areas for improvements.  This coach will go one step further in that he feels with the team, he has compassion with them.  Sure, he might work them harder the next week on the practice field but winning teams are built with encourager coaches.

Dr. John Maxwell calls encouragement, “Oxygen for the soul.” I believe that statement is so true.  My wife is my biggest encourager.  I was the kid in school that would take an F in class before giving a speech.  Later in life when I began speaking in front of crowds and congregations, my wife encouraged me to be the best that I could.  She told me continuously four words that sustained me, “I believe in you.”  What did those words do for me?  They touched my heart


I have spoken in over 13 states to many different groups and the words that I use include those same words my wife spoke to me.  You can make a difference in the heart of others when you believe in them.



Try a Little Kindess

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The Country singer Glen Campbell was popular for singing a song entitled, “Try a Little Kindness”.  It was a song about reaching out to those that were having a hard day or in harm’s way.  The catch phrase in that song was “if you try a little kindness you will overlook the blindness of the narrow-minded people on the narrow minded streets.”

This was a song that gave hope to everyone because kindness is a delicacy if you will.  Everyone wants some kindness and very often everyone will give some kindness out but the song speaks volumes in that kindness is rare and the singer is asking you and me to try one more time, help someone today.

I would propose to you in this writing the same idea.  Try a little kindness the next time you go out your door into the world.  My Mentor Zig Ziglar use to say that there were millions of people in this world that went to bed hungry every night but there were many millions more that went to bed hungry every night for a little encouragement and I add they are hungry for a little kindness.

We don’t always know what the other person is going through or the turmoil they have just been delivered from.  Death and destruction is around the next turn for each of us or maybe we are on the wrong road to begin with.  Choices that we make or choices that a spouse or friend makes will often lead us into a downhill plunge.  When we pass someone on the street, just as that song says, we are passing by those individuals that need some kindness and hope.

I would propose to you that you also “Try a Little Kindness”.  In the scriptures of the New Testament Bible it says that Kindness is a Fruit of the Spirit.  What is kindness and what is it not?  Well, kindness is not a natural behavior of humans.  Greed is natural, survival is natural, attraction to others is a law of nature for many reasons but simple kindness to the stranger or the one in need is not natural.  So how would we describe the idea of being kind?

Kindness is simply doing good for others without expecting anything back in return.  While that may seem selfless it really isn’t because there are many returns for being kind.  The first return that a person sees when he or she proves to be kind is the benefit of the Golden Rule, “do to others as you would have others to do for you.”   I don’t know how it happens but when you begin to be kind to others, something happens and you notice that others are kind to you.

Take for instance the day that I decided to hold the door for my co-workers in the rain.  Everyone was rushing for the door and the rain was coming down, we were all getting soaked and just as I arrived at the door and my inner-man spoke and said, “go on in Eddie and let the others fend for themselves”, that’s when I decided to be the overcomer and I defeated that inner-man. I stood in the rain and held the door open for the others. Sure I got wet and cold but the feeling that I got when each one of them said thank you and they waited on me as I was the last one inside and as we walked together in a group there was a special bond that we had.  Each one told the other to have a nice day as we dropped off at our offices.  Kindness pays you back in like ways.

When we harness this Kindness Ability, here is what happens immediately:

Other people are lifted up, they smile, they feel good about themselves and they want to share an act of kindness with someone else

So then, you have immediately improved the world.

There is an article from Dartmouth .edu that points to some life changing events.  https://www.dartmouth.edu/wellness/emotional/rakhealthfacts.pdf

  • Being kind at any level produces pain killing endorphins.
  • Kind individuals who practice kindness continually have 23% less cortisol (The stress hormone) and they age slower than the average population.
  • David Hamilton says acts of kindness create emotional warmth which produces Oxytocin which dilates the blood vessels and is therefore a cardioprotective hormone as it protects the heart. This hormone also is called the Love Hormone and increases our self-esteem and optimism.


I stand exactly 5 foot and 5 and 1/2″ tall but on a day that I am kind I stand almost 5′ 7″.  There is some truth in that friends because when we feel good about ourselves and proud of our actions we stand taller.  In the other direction when we are feeling down and depressed or guilty for our actions we tend to slump and this compresses our spinal cord.  Now that in itself is a medical observance that affects our health, our blood flow and our stress level.  So to feel better, you should honestly “Try a Little Kindness.”

Thanks For The Breakfast

What a beautiful morning

I arrived early the night before where the next day I would be photographing the individuals who would receive an award for meeting goals, being innovative leaders , and for achieving a milestone in their career.  Early to bed and early to rise was my theme for the day and at 6:45 am I was up and ready for my breakfast.

I was surprised when I had arrived the night before when I was given a coupon for a free breakfast and I was looking forward to this moment. The waitress came directly to my table and asked what I would like to drink. 

coffee.jpeg “I would like coffee please with creamer, and may I use this coupon for my meal?”  She told me the plates would be right out.  She was so nice to me from the moment I sat down and as I waited on the coffee, I admired the cleanliness of the restaurant and the chipperness of the morning crew.  In just a few minutes she was returning with my plates.  Two eggs, three strips of bacon, hashbrown potatoes, toast, jelly and orange slices.  Yum this looks great.  As I thanked her for the meal she asked, “is there anything else I can get you?”. My response was that I was fine and I thanked her for being so nice.  The meal was great and as I sat there and thought, I began to wonder just how many people had a hand in getting this breakfast to me.  First it took at least 5 people to work the chicken house that supplied the eggs, it took another 5 people working the orange trees that handpicked the fruit. It took another ten or twelve individuals to harvest the wheat, drive the truck, bake the bread and deliver it to the hotel, at least four individuals to get the bacon from the pig and to me and what about the coffee bean pickers and the factory workers who crushed the beans to make the coffee. Then the truck drivers and warehouse workers and the motel workers.

Did they communicate with each other as they made their incidental acquaintances.  How many hundreds of individuals does it take to put a breakfast on a plate in a hotel?  Do we take the time to say thank you to the last one in the line of labor who delivered the goods to us?


We live in such a time that very often a Thank You is left out of the conversation. Sure everyone got paid but it takes a lot of eggs and bacon to make a few dollars to make the house payments.  How much better of a life or a day will the other person have if I choose to make a difference in their day.  Thank you for the opportunity to eat in this nice restaurant and thank you for your smile, I want to tell you how much I appreciate your taking the time to refill my coffee and the atmosphere here was fantastic.  Don’t you like to be told you are doing a good job?  We need to recognize the laborers and the workers more than we do.  We should take the time to recognize that every one of those individuals have a life of their own and they each play an important role in making my morning great.

The breakfast was great, and as the waitress made her last trip I asked her if I could speak with her manager. She introduced me very nervously not knowing what I was going to say. I introduced myself using only my first name and informed the manager that I had just eaten one of the finest breakfast meals in my life and that the waitress was on time and very cheerful and had performed most excellent.  The manager smiled and thanked me back and then began to tell me about how they were going to renovate and the next time I came in it would be even better.  What kind of day do you think those people had when our conversation was over?


What kind of day do you have when you are shown a little appreciation?


The One-Legged Bird

I’ve always heard that a bird with one leg can’t survive.

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This makes perfect sense in that if a bird only has one leg, it can’t land and if it can’t land, then it can’t take off. So the theory that a bird with one leg can’t survive sounds perfectly justified right. Wrong….. it seems that I’m always finding a story when I go somewhere to eat. Just recently while on the job, I pulled into a Hardees in Big Stone Gap, Virginia and ordered a special ham sandwich with pickles and onions. While sitting alone and looking out the large window in front of me, I saw a flock of birds land in the grass and one bird kind of stumbled when it landed. My eyes went to that one bird as I watched it hop and stumble. It was just another bird with the exception that each time it moved it would hop and stumble. Soon for whatever reason, all of the birds flew into the air and took up a new position just outside the window. This one little bird flew straight toward the glass where I was sitting and I saw up close why this bird was acting differently, it only had one leg. I was amazed as it went about just like an ordinary bird with the exception that when it took a long stride it would hop and stumble. That didn’t deter that bird one bit, it was normal in every sense. The theory was wrong. Just because a handicap may be obvious to us, we shouldn’t pass judgements that a person isn’t able to do something.

This little bird was perfectly able to do what birds do.  I had a teacher in high school Mr. Sturgill, and he had a prosthetic arm in the form of a hook.  He could open doors, pick up a book, dress himself and more. One day I was running down the hall as an excited teenager would, “I was on my way to see my girlfriend”, Mr. Sturgill reached out and grabbed me by my shirt.  I was stopped immediately.  He wasn’t handicapped, he was normal….. he was different, but he was normal.  We all know the name Hellen Keller.  She was deaf and blind but she was normal. She didn’t let what we call a disability hold her back, she was an author, a motivational speaker, and a social activist who inspired and still inspires others to greatness.

I watched that bird hop and stumble but it kept going.  Then it spread it’s wings and in just a second of time it used it’s one good leg to launch into flight once more.  I watched as all of the birds grouped together into a flock and this one little bird once again blended in to the flock.  With winter approaching, I know it will survive.  Theories are only that, “Beliefs that we have but are not proven.” Another form of Prejudice :  I wonder if anyone had told that little bird that it was not possible for him to fly, would he have given up?

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The Power of Positive Speaking

Opportunity and Decisions

While traveling home yesterday from an away meeting I was craving a special chicken sandwich from one of my favorite spots, “Chick-Fil-A”.  It was a long drive home and I was really in a hurry to make the 6 hour drive but my overwhelming urge for my favorite Chicken Sandwich overcame me and I found myself looking at each exit for the eatery signs. Finally I found my desired spot.  With my stomach growling and my mouth watering, I pulled in to this Oasis on the Highway.


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You have to know that I don’t like waiting in lines so as I pulled in to the parking lot, my number one goal was to spy out the crowd.  I drove slowly past the front glass and saw what looked like dozens of hungry customers and of course I didn’t want to stand in line so I drove slowly on around to the drive thru.  As I made the turn I saw several cars already in line and of course I didn’t want to wait in this  line either. As I sat there for a moment this car sped around me and took my place in the drive thru. I said to myself, ” that was a dirty thing to do”, just as another car also found his place in line behind the first car.  With my calm cool self I pulled into an empty space just in front of the double doors so I could quickly make up my mind as what to do next.  People were coming and going pretty fast and I was looking at the time,  cause as I already said, I was in a hurry.  I strategically opened the driver door and gently put one foot on the ground while I tried to decide if I wanted to pull out, go through the drive thru or go inside and fight the crowd.  In my  moment of undecision, there were three more cars that took my place in the drive thru and two more couples had entered the double doors.  Lesson #1, If you don’t make a decision, you don’t get anywhere.

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Quickly I finally made the decision to go inside and fight the crowd.  As I slipped in silently I was also looking for my opportunity to find my place in the line.  Now you have to get this picture in your mind.  The door opened and the crowd of people were all standing at the counter and the waitress was moving as fast as she could but the line just wasn’t moving.  The young lady behind the counter was refilling tea and delivering trays as efficient as possible but in my intelligent smarts, I knew something just isn’t right about this situation.  Too many people in line and too much counter space on the other side told me that there was another register open but no one had realized it.  Quick as a bunny rabbit, I said, “Excuse me sir”, and I slipped on through the line and ended up in the right place at the right time.  I was second in line to a customer that had just finished getting his change and this told me that I was next.  I was elated and ready to order.  As the waiter looked at me and before he could say anything, I said, “My name is Eddie and I will be your customer today!”  He laughed and took my order.Lesson #2, Look for opportunity in the least expected places if you don’t look, you won’t find.

I have to say that the Chick-Fil-A combo really hit the spot.  I sat there and enjoyed it to the fullest and took that moment to appreciate all that I have waiting on me when I get home.  I have the most wonderful wife waiting on me and two great sons that I want to see when I walk through that door.  I have my parents just down the road and I love them so much.  There is something about those roadtrips that make you appreciate all that you have and all that you miss.

 Lesson #3, With all of the opportunities and decisions that we make on a daily basis, we sometimes forget the most important things in our life like family and friends.  Don’t get bogged down in life with the big decisions and don’t be in such a hurry to get back on the road.  Enjoy your meal and give thanks for those that are waiting for your return.  

The Power of Positive Speaking