I have known this colleague, Joe, for over 20 years. He was one of my senior officers in the Navy. Joe is the kind of guy who asks how you are doing, waits to hear the answer, and truly cares what you have to say. He is a gentleman, a strategic thinker, and a prolific writer. He can be counted on as the guy in a room who will be the first one to stand up and ask a question during that awkward silence while a speaker is waiting for someone to do so. And Joe asks the hard questions everyone else in the audience wants to know the answers to also. I’ve always had great respect for Joe.
So, I was touched by his encouraging words. And I wondered how somehow he must have sensed that lately I’ve been questioning my chosen second career path. I enjoy the writing. I hate the marketing. Annoying people with “look at what I did,” or “buy my book” is so against my grain. If I understood how much of that was part of being a writer, or at least a beginning writer, I probably would not have ventured down this path. But I’m here now, and I want to make it work. Hmmm…did he say something about being a “fierce competitor?”
I thought I’d take a minute here not really to complain about the writing life, but to talk about the power of words of encouragement. This small example turned my day around and is turning my recent attitude around. It only takes a minute. People need encouragement. Consider making your kind words a part of the giving season; those words may be the best gift someone receives.