Who’s Encouraging You?

Dave and Bill (our Encouragers) - with Rob in the middle

By Jacqui Barrett-Poindexter

Encouragers – they thread themselves through the needle of our lives, stitching together our tatters when we find we are fraying.

In your business, your career or your life, do you have your encourager team in place, those whom you tap into regularly or as-needed, people who will resuscitate you when you drift into unconsciousness, who will perk you up when you are down, who will compel you into traction when you are inert?

These are the folks who inspire your hope, and equip you with reasons to believe in yourself, in your ideas, in your goals, dreams and possibilities!

Connecting With Your Encouragers

In a recent social endeavor, after settling into our seats at a local Dave and Buster’s restaurant, Rob and I found ourselves eagerly awaiting the arrival of two sailing buddies. It was December, and it was cold – our sailing days seemed long ago in the past, yet the arrival of these two men, who had been key fixtures in our sailing lives at least once a week for six glorious summer months, offered opportunities for reminiscing, jovial story-telling and warm conversing.

To date, our winter had begun to feel long, our plan to move our home and careers south had intensified, and we were feeling burdened as the details and action plans to get from ‘here’ to ‘there’ weighed on our day to day.

After Dave and Bill arrived, the usual hugs and ‘how are yous’ ensued, before we quickly transitioned into an energizing show and tell, as our friends’ recent blue-water sailing adventure was recounted, in words and in photographs. The energy vibes thickened, the cold brews were refreshed and the conversation was unceasing. My friend and former neighbor, in town from San Angelo, Texas, joined into the fanfare, and the reconnecting deepened.

Soaking Up Others’ Confidence and Enthusiasm

The spotlight then shifted, shining now onto Rob and me as questions were batted about regarding our forthcoming southern transition, our business and sailing goals and the inevitable where and when would we land in our new city. At first our eyes brightened and our voices rose excitedly, but then we subdued a bit, hemming and hawing and interjecting confliction. The build-up of and pressures of the last couple of months had chilled our enthusiasm a bit as fear and what felt like reality biting at our heels hampered our attitudes.

And here’s where the story sharply turned. Our friends, naturally, intuitively, energetically started coaching  … and encouraging us. Where our positivity faltered, their insights and energies persevered, almost suddenly and completely propelling us from uncertainty to clarity and resolve. Pinpointing the pros and cons of our two target destinations (Florida and oceanside versus Texas and lakeside), and knowing us as intimately as they did, they helped to steer and clarify our life-changing transition decision.

Firming Up Next Steps … What a Dollop of Encouragement Can Do!

Our next move solidified – Texas, in a little cabin hideaway, just walking distance from a 90,000-acre lake where we will reap lifestyle benefits and work-life-harmony results beyond compare. All we needed was a little encouraging.

Qualities of Career and Life Encouragers

As I reflected upon what have been the most poignant and recurring traits of the career and life encouragers I have known, the following attributes arose and resonated.

1. These are folks who know you in both a personal and professional sense – who have gained enough insight about what makes you tick, including your hopes and dreams, to provide meaningful feedback. They offer closeness to you, but enough distance from your situation to deliver perspective.

2. They are naturally intuitive and sensitive – they have the listening and reflecting skill that truly is a gift.

3. They are naturally optimistic and positive in their communications. They are those glass-half-full folks who prefer to find the silver lining.

4. Though inherently positive, these individuals also are smart, pragmatic and capable of sorting through the situational facts and help you see the value in one decision over another.

5. They want you to be happy, and their advisement has no ties to their own self interest. They sincerely want you to be fulfilled and contented. Your gut will tell you if this is the case.

6. Often, they are senior to you, if not in age, but in years of experience in a particular area in which you are struggling. This niche-specific wisdom helps allay your fears and fill you with new confidence.

7. They are imbued with a sense of humor and love to laugh!

I hope you can find value in my (and Rob’s) recently encouraging event and decision-making result. In addition to this particular story and the terrific friends featured hereto, I can personally attest to a tight-knit group of business colleagues who are my day-to-day encouragers, mood and confidence lifters when I need revived. I wish for you the same career and life encouragement opportunities that will help shepherd you in a positive journey toward your goals and dreams!

20 Responses to “Who’s Encouraging You?”

  1. Meg Montford says:

    What a great analogy for career change, Jacqui! Your story rings so true. As I work with my coaching clients in their career change programs, we always make identifying your support team as one of the criteria for success. Thanks for showcasing this with your superb storytelling ability.

    • Master Resume Writer says:

      Your encouraging ways, and your coaching prowess in ensuring your clients have the right support team always has impressed me, Meg.

      Thanks for the encouraging comment!


  2. Jacqui,

    How did I miss your post(s) about moving? How exciting! Having moved many times over the years myself, I know it’s a big decision, and a great adventure. 🙂

    I thoroughly agree with your article about “encouragers”. Having a support system in place for all facets of your life is crucial to success. It’s also critical to sometimes keep your dreams safe, protecting them from those who may dampen your enthusiasm or put down your goals. I’m so glad you have such a positive support system. Your friends sound terrific!

    Tip: don’t forget to contact the Chamber of Commerce in the city you’ve chosen to get the scoop on local businesses, real estate, meetings, groups, events and then ask for a Newcomer’s Packet once you move there for all sorts of coupons for local restaurants, dry cleaning, etc., and even more detailed info. on the area. Most cities have both of these packets available at no cost or minimal cost.

    Happy Moving!! Wishing you the best for 2011 – sounds like you’re well on your way to having it already. 🙂


    • Master Resume Writer says:

      I agree regarding sometimes keeping your dreams safe … from those who may dampen your enthusiasm/put down your goals. That tip is great ‘add’ to this message.

      Good tip (reminder) re: Chamber of Commerce – thanks!

      And, I appreciate your relating to the ‘move’ and to the ‘adventure.’ Nice.


  3. Ed Han says:

    Jacqui, this was a particularly well-written post and what a great message! I especially like the list of qualities to identify these people in our lives.

    • Master Resume Writer says:

      Thanks Ed! So nice to see your encouraging smile in my comments stream!

      Also, I appreciate your validating the ‘qualities’ section – I’m glad to know you found that a valuable aspect of the post!

      Your comments are welcome here any time!


  4. Mary Wilson says:


    This wonderful post really struck home for me. My husband and I are also pondering a move south in the next 2-3 years (South Carolina or Florida) and are currently embroiled in the necessary decluttering and renovation of our home before putting it on the market. I know how easy it is to get bogged down and discouraged. I love the idea of encouragers to keep things moving and on-track. Thanks!

  5. Master Resume Writer says:

    Though we’ve never spoken by phone, you definitely are one of my Twitter and blogging encouragers and energy lifters. Thank you for that!

    Also, thanks for sharing you and your husband’s situation as you ponder a move south! The word “embroiled” certainly resonates here! And, the ‘bogged down/discouraged’ part!

    As you say, the idea of encouragers to keep things moving/on-track is important! Sometimes, until that encourager just surfaces into my day-to-day, I lose sight of it. So that’s why that momentous day with our buddies had such an impact on me (and Rob).

    I wish you and your husband well as you continue your transition journey south. It sounds like a dream and a goal worth pursuing with vigor!

    Thanks, as always, for commenting,

  6. kimba green says:

    You never quite realize the importance of having these encouraging people around you until you need them. That is when you see the value of building a good core group of positive and happy people. It is important to remember their importance before we need them to prop us up or at least thank them when they have.

    Thank you for always sharing!

    • You make a good point, Kimba. Sometimes the positivity pump these folks provide is a pleasant surprise, reminding us of the importance of those traits.

      Thank YOU for stopping by and sharing your wisdom!


  7. Jacqui, you share some very good tips – the kind that can turn a workplace culture around.

    Ellen Weber saw that I was capable of much more than I was doing at a previous position. Because of her encouragement I have reached new heights professionally. In addition, I went back to university to earn a PhD which opened many new doors and opportunities for me.

    • Thanks Robyn! I love how you connected my blog post tips to workplace culture.

      What a wonderful testament to the impact of encouragement – congratulations to you for your professional upward movement, and your willingness to be buoyed by Ellen’s words.

      It’s always delightfully interesting to me how sometimes ‘others’ can see the good, hopeful and positive traits and opportunities in and around us when we may get mired in the day to day or other distractions.

      A wonderful story, and I appreciate your sharing with us and am excited you visited my blog!


  8. Jacqui – this is an excellent summary of why it’s important to surround ourselves with the right kind of people who will support us through any kind of transition.

    • Thanks Dorothy! You’re right – the experience was a good reminder for me of the importance of my positive, encouraging friends, so I was compelled to share it.

      Always appreciate your visiting here!


  9. DorleeM says:

    Hi Jacqui,

    This was a beautiful post in which you were expressing appreciation to some good friends who make up part of your group of encouragers.

    I also like how you summarized the key characteristics that one would want to look for in a supporter.

    Finally, I just wanted to say that I view you as one of my encouragers…while I am just an MSW student in the midst of a career transition, you have been such a loyal twitter and blog supporter of mine from the beginning, cheering me on.

    In fact, I remember that your kind mentions of my blog spurred me on to start writing on a regular basis. I had no choice because you had made mention of my blog and I would have felt guilty if I had no new material that week 🙂

    You were so kind to have taken me under your long-distance wing, and I am most grateful.

    Wishing you the best of luck and happiness in your upcoming new home,

  10. Dorlee,
    You have regularly gifted me with your words, and I am quite grateful for your openness and sharing.

    Of course, you must realize you are more than ‘just an MSW student:’ you are a talented blogger and social work career transition-er who has the courage to continue, through thick and thin, on your life-changing journey. I can only imagine the time, intense study, raw emotion and, oh, did I mention ‘time’ you invest in your career change!

    Reading your blog that includes your own stories as well as the storied interviews you conduct with others in the social work venue is both enlightening and encouraging to all of us, including individuals moving through change, whether in social work or other industries.

    It has been (and will continue to be) a joy to support your blog posts and tweets.

    Reciprocally, you have been a great encourager and supporter of my words, musings and continuous life/career journey.

    Many warm thanks for your kind words and positive energies, adding to the propulsion that will lead Rob and me to our new home in Texas!


  11. What an exciting time in life, Jacqui! To be able to make a dream come to life is so fulfilling! I hope that everything goes smoothly in your transition to Texas.

    I wanted to comment on characteristic #5 — “they want you to be happy.” That is such a critical trait for members of your inner circle to have! Especially when a person is going through a stressful time, it can be difficult to discern who is concerned about the other person and who has a hidden agenda. But, as you said, the inner voice we all have will provide great guidance in selecting quality folks to trust.

  12. Master Resume Writer says:

    Hi Melissa,
    Great reflection on characteristic #5 – the ability to discern those with hidden agendas vs. folks genuinely concerned can be affected by the stress. If possible, knowing who are your reliable inner circle friends before the stress occurs will insure better support, when needed.

    Thanks for stopping by!


  13. […] actions that stunt your career transition success.Now, more than ever, is the time to surround yourself with spirit-lifters, encouragers and those who build you up with the confidence and positive energy imperative to your forward career motion. Now, more than ever, is the time to […]

  14. […] as Jacqui Barrett-Poindexter points out in her post, Who’s Encouraging You?, it is important to build connections with positive and encouraging people in your life who may […]

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