I sent this e-mail message to a client who is pursuing a “dual path” – meaning she has a long term goal which requires her to get additional education and a credential, while also making money to support herself. She had to miss an appointment, and I thought I’d send her a message that would be welcome no matter what emotional state she was in.

I was just telling someone how you had the courage to follow your dream, to pursue the dual path of a job you mostly like (remember, 60-75% of the must have list was our goal!) and getting the qualifications to help your community, especially its children. I’m so proud of you, Ingrid. Your determination and commitment inspire ME to keep going toward my own dreams. So thank you!

It turned out she needed encouragement more than I imagined. Here is her response to me:

This email came at the exact right time–I was feeling discouraged.
Thank you so much for your kind words–they meant a lot to me and kept me focused!

I learned long ago how much I need people who tell me that I’m doing really great things for myself, that I’m on a wonderful path, that I am terrific. It is so easy to listen to doubts and fears and anxieties – both within my head and from other people who have their own stuff. I need to surround myself with people who reassure me that I’m just fine and that it’s fantastic for me to pursue my dreams.

Because I have such supportive and loving people in my life, I make it my business to provide that support to other people. Encouragement literally means to give someone courage. And courage is moving forward in spite of our fears.

Who in your life is giving you the encouragement you need to take some risks and pursue the work you really love to do? And who are you encouraging today?