The Power of “Well Done”

Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.

Inspirational words such as these from Winston Churchill can be a beacon in our lesser inspired moments. And, if you’re like me, moments of cloudiness try to creep in to my day’s work, curbing my enthusiasm more often than I care to admit. One way I try to motivate myself is by recalling that most motivational quotes were born of some challenge faced by the “quoter.” The other way is even simpler. Read on.

It’s been six weeks since I first read columnist Geoffrey James’ article “12 Great Motivational Quotes for 2013“. Assembling such a list, he explains, is an exercise he does at the beginning of each year.

Terrific idea, but how can we know that the dozen motivational quotes that speak to us on 1 January will still be on target in March or June, or even later that same month?

We don’t! That’s the beauty of human nature. We love to talk. And so many of us think we have something worth saying that library shelves are filled with tomes containing wonderful pearls of wisdom to choose from when we need that figurative kick in the pants to keep moving forward.

I take comfort in knowing that Churchill’s own plague of difficulties was the impetus for phrases that have withstood time’s test. His words held hope for a nation drowning in the despair of a World War. And some 70 years later, these same words can breathe new life into a tired mother and small business owner who has clients tugging for her services on the phone while a toddler is squirting a juice box on her favorite piece of furniture (just to pick a completely random example that bears no relation to any of our colleagues).

Enter my other unsolicited motivation.

As inspiring are the words of the great British statesman, sometimes the best source of motivation for me is a simple “Well done” from a coworker or friend.

Of equal importance is taking a moment to recognize someone else’s value. Inspiration is a two-way street. Where do you think the likes of Winston Churchill, Dale Carnegie, Madame Curie, or other great thinkers throughout history got their inspiration? From people close to them who showed support with a few well-placed words of encouragement when times were darkest.

Who do you know personally that offered inspiration to you today?

Think about it. You might be pleasantly surprised.

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