The gift of encouragement

I’m going to come right out and say it – the end of the year, and all it brings, can be really hard. Balancing copious holiday parties with gift shopping and work can leave you feeling spent and exhausted. And those are all of the GOOD things going on at the end of the year. Many of us have to sit across the table from conflict-inducing relatives or face an inevitable encounter with rough feelings related to holidays past.

My husband works in customer service, and he’s told me over the past few weeks that this season has been especially challenging. He sees familiar faces enter his place of work looking a little more distressed than usual. There’s a lot of pressure sitting on people’s shoulders, and there’s money to be spent that may not be sitting in one’s bank account.

As I’ve grown older, I’ve learned that this time of year mandates an essential gift, one that you can give freely and without consequence – encouragement. Think about it. People are working overtime to finish their obligations at work. Extended store hours keep mothers away from their children. People are stressed looking at end of year budgets. There are a ton of people out there carrying burdens, and you can be a small light that brightens their day.  

In our field of public relations, I strongly feel the art of encouragement is an opportunity often missed. In the busy hustle and bustle of producing client work, we sometimes neglect the position we’re in to encourage our clients to find success and happiness. Every piece of work we produce praises the success of a nonprofit client, builds up confidence in a new business owner preparing to open shop or serves as an affirmation of an executive who has served in their industry for 20 years. We’re privy to information before it hits the public, and the carefully crafted accolades we weave into a news release are the first words of excitement a professional might read about his or her big announcement. As PR people, the work we produce daily celebrates the accomplishments of people behind businesses, and I challenge you in this season and in 2019 to approach your work as an opportunity to encourage your clients as they strive toward their goals.

So, in this busy season, take a step back and try to practice encouragement. Encourage your co-workers, your family, neighbors and everyone you come in contact with. We can all use it, and it truly makes the season a little brighter.  

Happy Holidays!