About fifteen years ago I started an “encouragement file.” Every time someone wrote me with positive feedback or expressed appreciation in writing for the impact I had on their life, I would put their note in a file. That file has grown and I now have literally thousands of letters that have come to me over the years. Back in the 1990′s there were a lot more cards and paper letters, and now they usually come in the form of emails. Nonetheless, this file means a great deal to me. Every so often, especially in moments of discouragement, I’ll sit and read some of the notes and remind myself of my life’s work and my reason for being here.
I read through some of the letters this past weekend and noticed how most of the notes were from people who only met me once or twice as participants in one of my presentations, workshops or retreats, or were impacted by reading one of my books. It made me realize that I receive far more direct encouragement and acknowledgement from others than I give. What about all the people who, day after day, support, encourage, nurture and love us? It is important, in our busy and hectic lives, to stop and acknowledge the people that we so often take for granted. My “encouragement file” not only lifted my spirits, it reminded me to appreciate those in my everyday life who get me through the good times and bad.