What keeps you from being productive? The #1 productivity killer is not the absence of Knowledge, Skill, or Enough Time. It is Anxiety.
Anxiety is your escort when you are afraid to fail; you want to look good; you are self-critical; you feel overwhelmed or resigned; you don’t want to ask for help; or you feel deeply alone. Anxiety blocks your access to your most vital resources of curiosity, creativity, initiative and decisiveness. It keeps you stuck.
So when you procrastinate on projects, avoid difficult situations, or lose focus, it’s likely that anxiety is your prime adversary…and it often wins. You can’t fight an anxious state through feelings of guilt, blame or criticism. These just create more of the same.
My favorite home remedy for Anxiety is the delicious elixir of Encouragement. Meditation, exercise or a hot bath are also nice, but Encouragement provides the intimate support and momentum to get you moving.
Sadly, most people don’t know how to give powerful encouragement. They may listen and nod sympathetically, or express empathy for how you feel, or perhaps offer advice. But none of these – sympathy, empathy, advice – delivers the kind of active emotional support that is most helpful. A good listener will be AT your side, but a skilled encourager will be actively ON your side.
Encouragement is delivered through words, feelings and actions. You send the message, “You are not broken or deficient; you are fine just the way you are. Your setbacks provide learning for what lies ahead. I believe in you and will accompany you along the way. What’s your very next step?”
When you encourage others , you do not promise or predict success. Instead, you affirm their fundamental right to strive and to thrive. You support their courage to set their fears aside and move ahead anyway, and you offer guidance and emotional companionship for the journey. You cross the chasm of vague support to a much more intimate conversation of encouragement.
When you ask for encouragement, choose wisely whom to ask. Find someone who is able to regard you with eyes of appreciation instead of criticism. They are generous in spirit and reassuring in manner. You respect each other and want to contribute to each other.
Encouragement is a wonderful gift when given and received with care. It calms anxiety and can get you moving again.