Do you know just how far a bit of encouragement can go? Money and food help fulfill basic needs, but encouragement can provide someone a will to continue.

I’ve been heavily surrounded by artists, musicians, designers and writers for the better part of the last decade. So many of them are constantly going up against the grind as they better their craft and pursue their passions. Some try to make it pay the bills while others dedicate countless hours burning the midnight oil. Success in a world like this is fleeting and even sometimes impossible to fulfill. So few get their names in lights, but so many pour their hearts out.

Over time, sadly, many give up. They don’t realize the impact. It’s not just about making money in this sort of community, it’s about making something that matters.

But how will they know it matters unless we tell them?

"Do whatever brings you to life, then. Follow your own fascinations, obsessions and compulsions. Trust them. Create whatever causes a revolution in your heart." - Elizabeth Gilbert

If you know someone who makes or does amazing things, they need to know. So, say so. It might be just enough to fill them up and keep them going.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not interested in the world of “everyone gets a medal” or enabling a life of negligence to responsibilities. No, empty praise is sometimes worse than no praise at all. Further, a loss of accountability for rock stars, local celebrities, or “talented people” is downright heartbreaking. Just because someone is good at their craft, does not mean we should over-glorify that aspect of their life while ignoring serious issues.

But real encouragement, the kind that sees through the struggle and the hardship and promises support, is invaluable. Sharing the impact you’ve experienced or felt means more than you know. It’s worth more than a paycheck and carries more weight than any metric.

This goes beyond art. It’s your colleague or your mom or even your friend who just had a baby. You see their struggle but also their strengths. If you benefit from their wisdom and their quiet leadership, say so.

Sometimes it feels silly to send that message or make the bold statement telling someone how their work, their art, or their service has impacted you. Perhaps they’ll blush or shrug it off, but what you don’t see is the rest of their day–the surprise phone call they make to a friend or family member saying how flattered they were or the encouragement they turn around and give to their influencer or neighbor.

It pays in dividends that you’ll never see or know, but it’s what we all need.


Samantha Gratton is a writer and project manager living in Raleigh, NC. She blogs at Moving Peaces, writes and plays music with her husband, and eats something chocolate every day.

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