My daughter, Emily, recently wrote a blog post entitled “Encouragement.” In it, she described different kinds of friends – friends who encourage you to grow and try new things and those who slow you down and encourage you to remain on your current path. Emily asked a question which has stuck with me: Which type of friend are you?
Since reading Emily’s post I have tried to notice whether I encourage people to take chances, to chase dreams, to be bold OR whether my advice is to maintain the status quo, play it safe, stay the course.
While I like to think of myself as a person who encourages my friends to dream, I have to admit that I often hear myself murmuring words that sound a lot more like encouragement to remain the same than encouragement to risk and take a chance on dreams.
I have been kind of horrified at this discovery. Do I encourage my friends to dream, only to later discourage them from taking steps to make those dreams come true? The more I have listened to myself giving advice, the more I have heard myself discourage steps that would move my friends along the path toward realizing their dreams. This has been a very hard reality to accept.
After thinking about this for a while, I have come to realize that I do this with my own dreams. I love to dream. Big or small, my dreams enliven me. I love to think about my dreams. But, when it comes to taking action toward making my dreams come true, I get stuck. I often become overwhelmed and paralyzed at the thought of taking action. The bigger the dream, the harder it is to take any steps to make it come true.
Now that I have realized that I do this to myself and to my friends, I want to take some steps to change. I want to be more encouraging. I want to be bolder about taking risks. I want to chase after some of my bigger dreams and I want to encourage my friends to chase after their dreams. I think that I am good at encouraging my friends to dream, so I need to learn how to take that encouragement to the next level. I also need to learn to get myself “unstuck,” so that I am not paralyzed when I try to follow my own dreams.
This gives me a lot to work on. I know that the first step toward making a change is to see things as they really are and to be honest with myself. Now that I want to make a change to be more encouraging, I can get started. I don’t have to be stuck any more.