The Power Of Encouragement

Dante Gabriel Rossetti, a famous 19th-century poet and artist, was once approached by an elderly man.  

dante-gabriel-rossettiThe old fellow had some sketches and drawings that he wanted Rossetti to look at and tell him if they were any good, or if they at least showed potential talent.

Rossetti looked over them carefully. After the first few, he knew that they were worthless but Rossetti was a kind man, he told the elderly man as gently as possible that the pictures were without much value and showed little talent. He was sorry, but he could not lie to the man. The man was disappointed, but seemed to expect Rossetti’s judgment.

The old man then apologized for taking up Rossetti’s time, but asked him to look at a few more drawings.

Rossetti looked over the second batch of sketches and immediately became enthusiastic over the talent they revealed. “These,” he said, “oh, these are good.”

“This young student has a great talent. He should be given every help and encouragement. He has a great future.”

Rossetti could see that the old fellow was deeply moved.

“Who is this fine young artist?” he asked. ”Your son?”

“No,” said the old man sadly.

“It is me  – 40 years ago. If only I had heard your praise then! For you see, I got discouraged and gave up – too soon.”

In my experiences over the years working with many people, many of whom are “self motivated” and take pride in the fact they “Don’t need encouragement”, I have notice an almost subconscious yearning for encouragement and recognition, even in the strongest of personalities.

I have seen very promising entrepreneurs literally give up on their dreams,  largely due to the lack of encouragement from their peers, family or mentors.

I was one of them…. almost…

I will never forget two specific moments that are still like a dagger in my heart that actually now fuel me.

  1.  I was maybe 28 years old, just getting clean and sober and had my passion for music still and wanting to put together a band or even just record a CD.  I purchased a drum set to get back in the groove (already had guitar & amp etc) and had a friend of mine mock me and say “You 28 years old why would you buy a drum set?!”
  2.  The second time I remember is when I was wanting to start my Lawn Care business (the first time) and made some flyers, told a friend what I was going to do and his words were, I kid you not; “Good luck with that”.charlesschwab

As I stated earlier, I use it to fuel me… now, but at the time it honestly devastated me as I was just starting to get back on my feet and get some hope back.

I want to encourage you all to encourage and appreciate/recognize people within your organization or people/teams you are working with.  You will find it will bless not only them, but you and everyone they will impact down the road,



Colin Sexton