This step pulls me out of burn out, overwhelmed and The Rut every single time: giving encouragement. Now before you pass this off as a wishy-washy challenge, turn it around on yourself. What are things other people have done for you recently that changed your mindset, got you moving forward or lifted your spirits to help you make things happen? They probably had no idea how much their encouragement changed you.

A note from my friend Valerie in the mail that I posted on my office wall, a text from Gina last night that made me laugh, a love note from Ari this morning, a song that Natalie sent us, a blog comment from Emily Thomas last week (I just realized how remarkable this is – it was a comment I left on her blog years ago that lead her to work for me!), Miss Susan (our amazing nanny) asking me daily how I am feeling, a text from Emily Ley on Monday that made me feel so supported and understood, a random thoughtful gift in the mail from a new friend, a smile and “hello” from an elderly man who lives in our neighborhood, an American Express agent in India saying “may God bless you” at the end of a customer service call where I took the time to get to know her a little (so awesome!), encouraging Facebook comments from one of our ministers at church, a text from Rhi this morning [EDITED TO ADD: Her text this morning said “have a sweet day!” and we just got a giant box of cupcakes delivered to our door – amazing!]… I could go on and on. These encouragements have really helped me in the last few days.

It would be realllly easy for me to veer off course these days. Sometimes I do. Anyone else in that same boat? My family is going though some challenging times, I’m really behind on email for the first time in a while because I have chosen to put my focus on them more right now (worth the sacrifice of a mounting inbox!), work is bustling as I work to simplify things, we still haven’t heard about Ari’s job, and I have lots of dear friends who are in need of prayer, etc. My heart is in many places. Reading scripture (the very best encouragement!), praying, giving encouragement to others and these ittle nods of encouragement I have received have helped me stay grounded and filled. They remind me that I am deeply loved and that I am enough, just as I am. They remind me that God is very very good. For that, I am so so so grateful. You just never know how your seemingly small encouragement can change someone’s world.

Love Never Fails print designed by yours truly, available here.

Remember that encouragement someone gave you at one point in your life that changed everything? I do. Genuine, authentic, honest encouragement is not only heard – it’s felt. It becomes physical in us. It changes our thoughts and, therefore, our actions. Encourage means to “give support, confidence or hope”. Even reading an encouraging quote (hello, Pinterest!) or listening to the lyrics of your favorite song can make you feel a little spark, right? Genuine words have power.

Now let me say this: do not get stuck in the trap of looking to others for encouragement in order to start making things happen. That’s the opposite of what this is about and a surefire way to drive yourself into the ground. Don’t wait for someone else to tell you GO! Don’t wait for some else to approve your great idea before you take action. Seek solid guidance and – at the same time – don’t get stuck thinking you have to have permission from others to act on your dreams. Encouragement is great, but don’t wait to ACT on what matters.

Give encouragement today to someone who really needs it or to someone you don’t normally talk to – anyone! This could be as small as a quick email, smile on the street, text, tweet, blog comment, a simple “thank you”. Or maybe it’s bigger for you. What would really help that person feel deeply loved? Whatever it is, do it. Start with just one person. Expect nothing in return and see what happens. Love never fails. Even without a reaction from that person, how does giving encouragement make you feel? If you are feeling ambitious, try giving encouragement to five people. Spread some love today and I guarantee – if you expect nothing from that person in return – it will energize you in your own work. Time to take things to the next level. Who’s in?!

My personal pep talk for you today: the fact that you are even reading this and have gotten to this sentence makes me KNOW that you want a big change in your life and in your business. Imagine I am right in front of you, looking in your eyes hi : ) saying these words: you’ve got this.

So, what are you going to do today to encourage someone? What has someone done for YOU lately that encouraged you? I’d love to hear your ideas and experiences. And you just might inspire someone with your comment : ) I know so many of you have been encouraged by the comments on previous posts! I’m so proud of y’all! As an extra push for you to get involved and DO something about these posts, I’ll be giving away prints from my shop when it opens and a one-on-one session with me to a commenter on this series.

PREVIOUSLY: And, friends, it’s never too late to start this process. There is NOTHING MAGICAL ABOUT JANUARY 1ST!

GOAL SETTING FOR 2013, Part 1
GOAL SETTING FOR 2013, Part 2
GOAL SETTING FOR 2013, Part 3
GOAL SETTING FOR 2013, Part 4
GOAL SETTING FOR 2013, Part 5
MAKING THINGS HAPPEN IN 2013: CLEAR THE CLUTTER
MAKING THINGS HAPPEN IN 2013: PREPARE FOR GREATNESS
MAKING THINGS HAPPEN IN 2013: TAKE A BREAK!
MAKING THINGS HAPPEN IN 2013: NAME YOUR FEAR
MAKING THINGS HAPPEN IN 2013: CREATE BOUNDARIES

P.S. Join Emily Ley and me for the Making Brands Happen 2013 Webinar Series that started yesterday! It was SO much fun! If you missed yesterday, you can still register for the series and get the video replay so you can get caught up for Part 2 next week! Video recordings and homework will be sent out to all registered attendees so you won’t miss a thing. See y’all again next Wednesday!

Show Comments (35)
  1. @weddingrep

    MAKING THINGS HAPPEN IN 2013: ENCOURAGE OTHERS: This step pulls me out of burn out, overwhelmed and The Rut ever… http://t.co/SGddOqvM

  2. Elizabeth

    I’m going to send a few friends a text to let them know I’m thinking of them. We are all working moms and it’s hard to meet up sometimes, so I’m going to encourage them through a quick message to let them know I’m thinking of them. I challenged myself last year to ’52 letters’. I sent a handwritten card or letter every week to someone different and it was such a rewarding experience. I’m thinking of you and your family, Lara! I wondered if Ari had found out about his position. Have a great week! Oh, and thanks for being such an encouragement to all of us!!! xoxo

  3. Deanie

    Thanks for this Lara! I love it! It is amazing how much happier you feel when you radiat positivity and encouragement. I love sending handwritten notes to friends, family, and people I know when I see a card that makes me think of them or when I know that they could use a little encouragement. I am going to make a conscious effort to do this more often in 2013! I am also making a conscious effort to smile at strangers more often. I have been doing this while running and absolutely love the feeling and you just never know how that little nod of encouragement may impact someone’s day.

  4. Jessica @ The Budget Savvy Bride

    I have started to make this an intentional part of my day and it has brought me so much joy! I love reaching out to my friends however possible to share a word of encouragement or gratitude with them. I hope to continue this practice, because I know there have been oh-so-many times when a kind word has lifted my spirits and given me the boost I needed. One of my biggest encouragers has been my sweet friend Amber Housley, who helped me get out of a rut and get back to doing what I love after a long period of self-doubt. So thankful for her pushing me – part of the reason I *finally* ended up attending MTH in May of last year, which has had a HUGE effect on my life. THANK YOU for your encouragement over the years- even indirectly by sharing such inspiring messages of hope and light and love. I definitely plan to follow the example that fab ladies like you have set for encouraging others and spreading LOVE and JOY! xoxoxo

    • Lara

      Oh I love you! YOU haven encouraged me for so many years! We just hung the signed cover print from our very first launch party in the office and it makes me grateful for you. I am so proud of all of the big decisions you’ve made lately!

  5. Amanda

    I LOVE sending encouraging text messages to people!! When a person pops up in my head nothing brings me more joy then texting them “just to say hey!”

    People have indirectly been encouraging me as well. It’s so nice to have “pushers, not pullers” in my life.

    This series is a true blessing Lara!! I cannot thank you enough for this. I knew I “stumbled” on MTH and you for a reason!! Love you a lot!!

  6. Kathryn Denelle Stevens

    YOU encourage me, Lara! The fact that you took the time to email me and really spend time to help me, really changed my outlook! The simple act made me want to do that for someone else. Thanks my dear!!

  7. Tabitha

    There are plenty of days when the encouragement of others is so welcome! I agree wholeheartedly with your post! Today I am going to encourage a co-worker that’s going through a difficult time here at work. I want to seek God’s will in what I should encourage her to do first, but I want her to enjoy work and be happy while she’s here. I also want to diffuse negativity with a positive comeback! My memory verse for this month is Ephesians 4:4 “Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.” Thank you Lara for your encouragement to me! You have helped me in incredible ways!

  8. Lauren @ Every Last Detail

    This. Thank you for this. Encouragement- both ways- fires me up in all kinds of ways. Lately I feel like I’ve been in a fog. Comparing myself to others, feeling like I’m failing. An amazingly encouraging email from someone last week, telling me that they appreciated what I do was a step in the right direction for me. And then a post on my Facebook wall from someone. I’m going to step a little outside of my norm and encourage someone today that I don’t normally. Perhaps a few people actually. Because I really do love encouraging others- it truly does fire me up. Thank you so much for this reminder Lara!!! :)

  9. Jessica

    I’m going to text 5 people today that I haven’t talke to in awhile that I know are starting school today! I’m going to tell them that I’m praying for their fresh new start and to have a wonderful day! Short and sweet!

  10. @DITRjewelry

    RT @ELD_Lauren: “Spread some love today.” via @laracasey http://t.co/3cY8VU99

  11. Lindsey McClennahan

    I have really been encouraged by Nancy Ray and her debt free posts. Reading the Dave Ramsey books has really charged me up! Following you on instagram is also encouraging. My husband also hugged me and said I felt smaller! ( A secret goal of mine) Today I’m going to the middle school basketball games, my husband coaches them, and it feels great to cheer them on : )
    THANK you for this post Laura.

  12. Valerie

    Yes! This post is awesome Lara! It’s amazing how great we feel ourselves when we encourage others. I’ve had to start praying that God would open my eyes to needs around me or ways I can serve because I can get stuck in my own little comfort bubble and NEVER see a single need around me. He is changing my heart and I know it’s only by His grace that I can be used.
    So glad the note meant a lot to you. It meant a lot to me and was so glad I listened when God said to share! : )

  13. Carmen

    This is what we were called to do… to encourage one another and build each other up! Thank you for another awesome post! :)

  14. Kelly

    I remember that look and the reassurance of “You’ve got this!” so vividly!!!! I thank you deeply for being such a strong encourager, for instilling courage into all us MTHers. :) I spent last night going back through all of the planning posts and refining my thoughts/dreams/missions. Sunday night I realized “Focus” was my word for the year, and now with that in mind I can mold my dreams for 2013 a little more to fit it. :)

    I will definitely be encouraging others from now on! Especially with starting a business venture, all the random messages from friends and acquaintances telling me how proud they are of me or how they love keeping up with everything — all those little words mean so much, so I need to pass it on!!!!! YAY!

  15. Rhiannon

    This is SUCH an important reminder. Lifting others up is one sure fire way to feel inspired and hopeful about life in general. I hope your day truly is as sweet as you, Lara! I love that part about the American Express agent too. I crave those sweet moments iwth strangers that really just seem so special. Xoxo

  16. Liz

    Hi Lara:
    I have been praying and wondering about Ari’s job – I hope you guys hear something soon! I know what it’s like to be in limbo.
    I’m always encouraged by Gina Zeidler as she always, (ALWAYS) responds to any new blog post (from my fledgling little blog) that I send her way looking for some sort of feedback. She’s swamped, so I appreciate that. However, I have been working on encouraging myself this year – an all areas. I have a LOT of fears and waste a lot of time burying my head in the sand and not being myself, hoping everything will somehow magically come together the way my heart tells my head. So, in the past week I have reached out to two women I know with new businesses to give them encouragement and offer to contribute to their web pages with photos. Baby steps.

  17. Sarah Teeter

    Wonderful post!! My love language is words, so these types of activities mean the world to me. I sent off a handwritten note to a friend, typed up recipe cards for a client and will wrap them pretty to send to her (she requested some via email, but who doesn’t love receiving something in the mail)?! And Lara, your comments on my blog truly do mean the world to me. I sometimes feel that no one reads my posts, so thank you for taking the time to comment! Like I said, I’m a words girls :)

  18. Amber Housley

    I can’t help but think of the sweet old man at the gym this morning as I was leaving the parking lot. He smiled at me to make sure I saw him and was letting him cross, and I smiled right back. He then smiled even bigger and kept his eyes locked on me, and I just kept grinning back at him. Our little smiling contest. I wanted to jump out of the car and hug him. :)

  19. Ashlee

    Lara thanks so much for this! Today I’ve spent a lot of time texting my little sister and encouraging her in her school work right now, its stressful for her. I also have to thank you Lara for this entire blog series, it is easily the most amazing thing I’ve read on any blog before. The ways it’s changed my life are not even fathomable yet! One of the biggest things that’s helped me this week is your idea of having the night time prep and Daily Downloads. This week has been hectic for me and I’ve been feeling kinda sick, but this nightly routine has allowed me to like you said, create my best days despite feeling “yucky” and having a lot going on. Even if I can only cross 3-4 things off my list of 6 each day it’s a lot better than just mindlessly wandering through my day with no plan and no purpose like I usually would! So thank you Lara and God Bless you love! :)

  20. @KateRPhoto

    Beautiful post from @laracasey http://t.co/gho9plcc so encouraged!

  21. Lida Mathews

    Oh sweet Lara – this is MY HEART. This is the core of who I am and I’m trying to figure out how this is expressed through my business. Thank you for always being amazing and pushing us to the next level – we are so grateful for you!

    xxoo,
    Lida

  22. Victoria C

    Great post! One of my goals is to ask someone “how can I help you?” every day and then actually do it! It’s going really well. Today I sent encouragement to my sister on her job interview. The best is just reaching out to people and asking about them and sending happy messages! I love it!

  23. Making Things Happen in 2013 « Adventures by Jaclyn

    […] my early January discovery of Lara Casey’s Making Things Happen in 2013 posts. (I linked to her most recent MTH post about Encouraging Others, and at the bottom of THAT […]

  24. Lauren Steimle

    I truly believe focusing on others is what can make us the MOST happy! Recently my sister whom I am not very close with encouraged me to have an acoustic house show/concert which I had been thinking about doing but was too scared to do. Her small one line of encouragement meant so much to me I ended up MAKING IT HAPPEN and fulfilling one of the goals I had made through this process! It was so successful and I can’t wait to return the encouragement to her and hopefully lots of others, especially this week :) Thank you so so much for all of your encouraging posts Lara and taking the time to help guide us with your goal setting and MAKING IT HAPPEN in 2013. I know it has made such a difference in my life! God bless you & your family.

  25. Clarifying My Vision Part II – 2013 GOALS! | Hemmed & Held

    […] them yourself. It’s NOT too late! You can start these at any time. At the bottom of the post at THIS LINK is a full list of all the posts included in the Making Things Happen Goal Setting […]

  26. Stefanie R . Sparks

    I’m working through the MTH goals and action items in preparation for the MTH conference next month and I just wanted to leave a note to let you know how much this post affected me. Reading through your post and everyone’s comments, I am filled with so much joy and excitement – it’s amazing how one small voice of encouragement can make a difference in someone’s life. I immediately thought of three friends who have big things going on in their lives and took a minute to reach out to each of them to let them know I’m thinking about them and asking if there’s anything I can do to help. The MTH series is eye-opening, Lara. I feel like I’m waking up to a completely new life . I can’t wait to meet everyone at the conference!

  27. Carrie Joy

    Thank you, Lara, for these posts & being a voice of encouragement to me. Encouragement is such an amazing thing. And it’s one of my big goals for the year. I’m trying my best to send one physical note of encouragement thru the mail a week. And this post was a great reminder that even something as small as a smile or short text of encouragement can be powerful too. So glad that this post was included in the MTH series :)

  28. Kathy Romero

    Lara!

    This is your style, your craft, your heart and it will always be. YOU operate from a place of kindness and have always had the courage to encourage. I truly love you for understanding what you stand for and giving with all your heart. I think of you often and wish you joy ALWAYS.

    • Lara

      Oh, your kind encouragement means the world. I’ve been thinking about you and praying for you so much lately. Bug hugs and love!

  29. morgane

    hello Lara, thank you so much for all you do… You are giving me so much encouragement on your blog. I am a French Wedding Designer in Wedding Industry and blesses me so much to read your blog, quotes…
    be blessed !!!!