Friday afternoon I received this email from a co-worker:
I’ve been reading your blog and I just wanted to let you know that I really enjoy it. I thought I’d send you a note of encouragement on your month long journey of blog posts. I’ve even picked up “The Lean Startup” and plan on starting it this weekend.
Anyway, keep up the posts.
On a scale of awesomeness from one to ten….these (notes) go to eleven!
How long to do think it took for the author of this email to write this note to me? Probably all of two minutes? But what was the impact? This note was amazingly encouraging.
In some way, encouragement is like trading a good that you have a vast supply of, but the recipient is unable to produce it on his own. That said, one key ingredient is time. Although it may only take a minute or two to send a thoughtful email or text or call, it will be impossible to do if you are self-absorbed (which I will be the first to admit, I am a lot of the time).
Encouraging others takes selflessness. Tim Keller, in The Meaning of Marriage, describes selflessness as literally thinking of ones self less and thinking about others more. If you had to categorize your thoughts what % of time is spent on issues that effect you and what % is spent thinking of others?
If there was a thought tracker that I could attach to my brain, I think I would be embarrassed at the breakdown.
As I have mentioned in other posts, this is something I am trying to change. One small step I have taken is to try and call/text a friend everyday on my drive home. Similar to posting every day, it is a routine that I hope to make a habit.
It only takes a couple of minutes to let someone know that you care or that they are doing a good job, or that they knocked the last project out of the park.
We’re all in this together. You will work for a long time. You will be with your family for a long time. You will be in friendships for a long time. Spend some of your time thinking about and encouraging others.