Advance Advice

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The Power of Encouragement

The Oxford English Dictionary defines Encouragement as “the action of giving someone support, confidence, or hope.” and it defines Courage as “the ability to do something that frightens one”

I wrote last week about the 10%+ rule, structuring your life to have 10% of it outside your comfort zone.  If you were to speak to my family or anyone who has worked for Advance for more than a few months they will likely tell you they have heard that phrase (my children will smile, roll their eyes, and say “AND forgive people 70 times” 😊)

I thought I would follow up this week with a little practical how to, a Haiku on how to as it were.  You may say fine, I’ll bite, I’ll look for baby steps I can take outside of my comfort zone.  But what if I fail? what if I embarrass myself?  Those are fair questions, and the answer is emphatically YES, you will, at some point, be guaranteed to fail or be embarrassed.

If you decide to accept on the front end that the price of growth is failure and embarrassment, you have taken the first step into a wider world.

I also mentioned Faith, Family, Friendship and Fellowship last week.  They have a role to play in this as well.  If we are honest with ourselves, we all have things we are good at, and others, not so much.  We can help each other with our 10%  by finding someone we know, (or don’t for that matter, we can be like Will Rogers who famously said “Strangers are just friends I haven’t met yet”), and encouraging them to try something WE are good at, in return for trying something THEY are good at.

The beauty and power of this concept is in its’ simplicity, reciprocity, and universality. The possibilities are quite literally endless.  I’ll never be an NBA player but I can learn to make a better free throw, making me better at HORSE.  I have a friend who is a modern renaissance man, a more sophisticated version of Red Green, handsome and handy.  His example has pushed me to try things like woodworking and building I did not think possible. I’ll never be a trim carpenter, but I can build a nice oak table.

Practiced properly, it can be like a perpetual motion machine of virtuous cycles rather than the vicious circles we so often see on social media and in the poison of our modern politics.  Regardless of your politics, it is wise to listen twice as much as we speak and, we can learn something from everyone.  Stopped clocks are right twice a day and the worst person at least shows us how NOT to do things. 

It takes courage to try new things, but remember, you can give courage to others by “the action of giving someone support, confidence, or hope.” So be a cultural rebel today and give somebody some of your courage and watch it come full circle.  It’s ok to be afraid, that’s what friends are for.

Stay curious my friends.

Blaine Schultz

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