Four Ways You Can Be an Encourager
By Marcus Johns
Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.
—1 Thessalonians 5:11
Encouragement has to be one of the most underestimated powers we have—and it’s free! Absolutely free. Free to give, and free to receive—and I have no idea why we’re not all out there just encouraging people left and right.
Encouragement is a force, and even the smallest bit of it has the potential to change someone’s life, move them in a new direction, or give them the confidence they need to keep going.
What if consistently encouraging those around us, instead of simply praising them for how awesome we think they are, would motivate them to take risks and try things they’ve never tried before? I believe this is the key to continually falling in love with life. In your job, with your hobbies, in your relationships. Keeping things new and fresh by trying new things and continually challenging your perspective with the help of encouragement from friends around you.
So how do you consistently encourage those around you? Below are four ways.
Keep Your Eyes on Those Close to You
I have a younger cousin named Ian. He’s 19 years old, and he probably doesn’t even realize this, but whenever he encourages me about my videos, it means a lot to me. He’ll shoot me a text: “Bro, that last video was your best to date. Keep it up.” And it always makes me feel awesome.
The thing is, sometimes it’s the encouragement of a few people close to us that means the most—not necessarily the praise of the masses. So keep your eyes open and pay attention to your friends and family, the ones who are right there with you, and be ready to encourage them. A timely word from you that encourages them in their work may be exactly what they need.
I know what some of you are thinking. I know what’s going through your mind as I’m talking about heaping on the encouragement.
But encouraging other people makes me uncomfortable.
I don’t know what to say.
What if I say something encouraging and they shrug me off?
Well, for those of you who are uncomfortable speaking your encouragement, you can encourage someone simply with your presence. On opening night of the musical, one of the most encouraging things for me was looking out into the crowd and seeing so many of my friends and family. Just having them there was a massive encouragement. There are times when all you have to do is be present, and your presence will be the encouragement someone needs.
Be Aware of When the Stakes Are High
We can use encouragement all the time, but I think we’re especially in need of it when the stakes are high—you know, when you’re trying something for the first time, or you reach a new level in what you’re doing. I’m thinking of grand openings, opening nights, or milestones. When you see someone around you going through those kinds of things, they’re ripe for encouragement. And they may need that extra little push to get them over the hump and into the next phase of whatever it is they’re doing.
Notice Others’ Interests and Take Action
People are constantly telling you what they wish for all the time. They communicate their goals, dreams, and hopes constantly. But many times, we don’t hear them reaching out or expressing themselves, even when it’s plain as day. A perfect example is people who say, “I wish I could play the piano.” I can’t tell you how many times people will come into our house, see our piano, and say, “Ah, I wish I could play.”
Many of us just whiz by that type of comment and think it’s nothing more than a “conversation starter.” We continue on and say something like, “Oh yeah, I’ve been playing for five years,” or “Yeah, I had lessons when I was younger,” and the conversation just moves along.
But you can take these opportunities to encourage and teach—especially if you have the knowledge. It’s totally free to give! Every time I hear someone say that, I say, “It’s easy. I’ll teach you right now.” I make them sit at the piano bench as they laugh and think I’m joking, and in a few minutes, I will teach them how to play. Of course, they’re not going to be Mozart in five minutes, but I can teach them four chords and say, “Look, now you can play thousands of your favorite songs!” A lot of times, taking a small fleeting moment to truly hear a desire can unlock a whole creative side of someone they never knew they had.
A lot of people wish they were doing this or knew how to do that. Many of them think they’ve missed their chance. They think they’re too old to learn that skill. They couldn’t possibly have that type of life. And many times, it’s because no one ever told them that they could. No one ever said, “Here, sit down. I’ll teach you.”
You have the power to change people’s minds.
You have the power to change people’s opinions of themselves.
That is my favorite thing to do.
Adapted from You Can’t Do It!: There Are a Million Reasons You Can’t—Find the Reason You Can by Marcus Johns. Click here to learn more about this book.
At some point in our lives, we all hear some version of “You can’t do it.” When that influential voice (whether outside or inside you) tells you why you can’t—maybe that’s the perfect reason why you can. At 27, actor, viral YouTuber, and one of the top former Vine stars Marcus Johns wants to shift our perspective on the resistance and obstacles that discourage our most powerful contributions.
Whether it’s conducting outrageous experiments or creating content we love to share, some unusual people use the voices of doubt—including their own—as motivation to press on and prove them all wrong.
Sharing lighthearted insights from his life as a social media phenom, Marcus knows what it takes to be influential both online and off. How does one balance family, friends, faith, and fame—not to mention, finding the fun—and what does true success look like when the cameras are off?
With his signature wit and transparency, Marcus shares his unconventional thoughts on:
- How to overcome self-doubt and move ahead
- Knowing who’s on your team—and who’s not
- What it really means to follow your gut
- Developing your skills by embracing failure
- Remaining humble and sharing your success with others
A must-read for any passionate go-getter, You Can’t Do It may just be the magical phrase pointing you to the right track.
Marcus Johns is really good at being okay at a lot of things. He’s an actor, musician, writer, and social content creator. But he’s probably best known for his viral Vine videos, which continue to entertain people on YouTube.
Some people know him from his YouTube channel, or the one he shares with his wife, Kristin Johns, or even from his roles in feature films like “Expelled,” “Rock of Ages,” or “The Punisher.” Now they’ll also know him for the message of this book.
Whether he’s starring in others’ productions or producing his own, the one thing fans most appreciate about Marcus is his authenticity and humor. Okay, two things. He’s just a real guy who really hopes you’ll read his book and enjoy this view behind the views.
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