The Importance of Encouragement

Hello dear readers,

discouragedBeen super duper busy (nothing seems to change), but I feel I just have to throw something out – if no other reason than to get myself back on track here. By the way, I’m in the final stages of preparing my self hosted blog, more on that soon. Enough blabber, let’s get on with it.

We Work Hard.

While I certainly don’t speak for everyone, I’d like to think that most of us in this industry work pretty darn hard for our clients – often times going above and beyond scope to make sure our client’s campaigns are as successful as possible. I know for myself, a 50-60+ hour work week is the norm, and my wife has to tell me to stop working more than she should. Even still, I love what I do so much that I find myself researching blogs, reading marketing, copywriting or programming books and running experiments even during my free time. It’s hard to imagine a more exciting, or rewarding career.

Enter: The Jerk.

These people live to ruin your day. They show up around every corner – and their words or actions can cut deeper than any knife. One of the most telling examples of the power that ‘the jerk’ has was described by Muzz Skillings from the band Living Color. After being asked what it felt like to perform in front of 60,000+ screaming concertgoers as the opening act for the Rolling Stones, Muzz said (paraphrased):

All I remember was running across the stage from side to side, taking it all in while we played our songs – it was the greatest feeling in the world – until my eyes landed on someone 10-15 rows out on the stadium floor. He stood there unmoving, his hand raised, with his middle finger pointing straight up at me. Out of all those screaming fans, that’s what’s stuck in my head…

I’m wagering that you’ve been there before, also. Maybe you created a design that you were really proud of, only to have someone tell you it’s crap. Perhaps, despite your best efforts and hard work,  you failed – and then you were told how worthless you are. (geesh, that WOULD suck…I’m getting depressed here.) What I’m trying to say is this: negative comments can consume you and prevent you from trying to be great – if you let them.

What if…

But what if someone you respected came up to you today and told you how much you were appreciated – that they really like what you do, and said keep it up – how would that make you feel? The point is, even though most of us know that we can’t win every battle or please every person, we still WANT to know that someone appreciates us. I don’t care who you are, or what you do – everyone likes to hear some encouraging words. If you’ve ever had someone come along and say just the right thing at exactly the right time, you know exactly what I mean.

So here’s the skinny:

Today, this week, heck – even this month – try and encourage someone. If it’s a design you like, email the designer personally and let them know how great you think it is – if it’s a blogger you read a lot, or maybe just found – let them know something they said helped you, or that you think they’re really great and you just thought you’d tell them.  Even if don’t agree with what they say, instead of putting them down – provide some positive feedback and maybe direct them to some additional resources if their information is wrong. (note: stalking someone and showing up at their home to give them a hug may be going a bit too far, so try and use your best judgement.)

I’ll leave this post with a rather excellent quote from Jesse Jackson – “Never look down on somebody unless you’re helping them up.”

Now go do something wonderful today – I know you’ve got it in you.