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Christine Kane
    How to Be an Extreme Encourager
    by Christine Kane

Many years ago, when I first shared my dream of being a songwriter with one of my
best friends, she knitted her brows and said, "Huh?"

I can't say I was deflated by all of the warnings that followed. After all, I had always
been surrounded by this kind of "practical thinking." In fact, I probably
shared my dream with her
just so she'd talk me out of it.

During this fumbling stumbling time in my life, I met a man who became an unlikely
best friend and mentor. He was a brilliant jazz musician, and he could do pretty much anything on the computer.

One night, after he performed at a local jazz club, we were walking towards my car. I told him my dream of
being a songwriter. Without even blinking, he said, "Honey (he always called me Honey), you'd be a fabulous
songwriter. That's perfect!" And he meant it.

At that moment, I felt like I was falling into a soft clean bed. I had never experienced such
direct and truthful
encouragement
without a single "practical" warning attached to it. This friend set me free by offering one
simple thing:

Encouragement.

Fast forward many years and successes and failures later. I'm surrounded by encouragers. I'm sure there are
doubters around. But they don't register anymore.

Also, I have become an extreme encourager myself.

I've observed extreme encouragers. I've also recognized some traits that they all have in common. Here they
are:

· An extreme encourager lives by example

The best encouragers are the ones who live it. Whether they're just getting started, or they're veteran risk-
taking creativity-living wild-women - the encouragers are the ones who want a bigger life for themselves and
are willing to "go there." This is why my jazz musician friend could simply offer encouragement when my other
friend could not.

· An extreme encourager actively listens

Encouragers know that encouragement doesn't mean you just tell people to "buck up" or "get over it." They
know how to listen. This means looking at the speaker, listening to her, setting agendas and judgments aside,
and honoring the speaker as a wise soul.

· An extreme encourager avoids clichés

Avoiding clichés is actually a result of actively listening to someone. Being an extreme encourager doesn't
mean that you blindly tell people "You can do it!" or "Let go of fear!" It's deeper than that. It's seeing the truth of
the other person, especially when they cannot.

· An extreme encourager acknowledges the hooglie-booglies, but doesn't focus on them

We all have the hooglie-booglies. These are the voices that tell us we can't, or we shouldn't, or we'll fail, or we'll
look stupid. An encourager doesn't focus on those voices because she knows they they're trying to hook her.
An encourager simply acknowledges that the voices are there and that you can't make them go away by
arguing with them. An encourager knows that those voices aren't the truth. They only SEEM like the truth.

· An extreme encourager remembers that no one knows what's best for anyone else

An encourager knows that we are all wise and that sometimes we make choices that might not seem so wise.
An extreme encourager calls out our deepest desires and then helps us see the thoughts and fears that hold
us back.

· An extreme encourager accepts miracles, grace and mystery as the deeper truth.

Extreme encouragers are often mystics of sorts. They know that the so-called "woo-woo" stuff is more real
than the so-called "logical" stuff. They celebrate the divine as a simple fact of everyday existence and don't get
caught up in the "prove it" mindset.

· An extreme encourager knows that you can develop the needed character traits as you go

In other words, she knows you're ready now, even if you're not perfect yet! I shudder when I read advice that
discourages people from trying something because of character traits "required" in advance. "You shouldn't
blog if you're not disciplined." "If you don't have focus, you can't be a writer." Most of the successful people I
know developed these traits as they went. I certainly did. Encouragers understand the huge potential for
growth in each human, especially when someone begins to follow her heart.

---------------

I'm grateful to the encouragers! And I'm grateful to be able to pass it on to others - either my friends, or to
women in my retreats or my coaching clients!

Who has given you the encouragement you needed in your life? And do you pass it on now?
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
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