I am extremely fortunate. Somehow, in this expansive world, I have found and surrounded myself with incredible people. The people that I am lucky enough to call “friends” always seem to have the words I need at a moment’s notice… even if I wasn’t even aware I needed them. This past week has been an eye-opening reminder that the people in my life are truly amazing. The words of encouragement and the inspiring spirits of my friends have left me bursting at the seams with creativity.
“No man is an island.” — John Donne
Admittedly, I have a fiercely independent spirit. This spirit has both helped and hindered me throughout my life. I have trouble asking for help from others even when I really need it. In recent years I’ve learned to let go of that and something remarkable happened in doing so. I found that getting encouragement from people I love and respect has served me so much better than being a “lone wolf.”
I truly believe that the greatest gift we can give our fellow creatives is to encourage each other on our endeavors. We are in this together. No one understands the struggles of a creative spirit like another creative spirit.
“Remember, man does not live on bread alone: sometimes he needs a little buttering up.” — John C. Maxwell
Nothing feels better than a well-timed compliment. Whether it lifts our spirits or fortifies our resolve, we all need to hear kind words. And guess what? It doesn’t cost a penny to lend words of encouragement to someone who is putting themselves out there. Of course, sincerity is a must. No one benefits having smoke blown up one’s ass. It’s a waste of time and can hamper a creative person’s growth. But when we truly find something that touches us or makes us laughs we should all compliment and thank the creator. Oftentimes, what we do is a solitary process and as creators we can feel like what we do doesn’t matter to anyone. So, when someone takes the time to say that our pursuits are not lost on them it can be put some much-needed wind in our sails.
“Taking an interest in what others are thinking and doing is often a much more powerful form of encouragement than praise” — Robert Martin
Remember that little thing I mentioned earlier about sincerity? Well, it’s so important I am going to mention it again. Most of us know bullshit when we hear it. And while the phony praise may come from a good place it does little to truly encourage us. When others take a genuine interest in our work it provides energy to our craft and can resuscitate even long-dead ideas.
“Most of us, swimming against the tides of trouble the world knows nothing about, need only a bit of praise or encouragement – and we will make the goal.” — Robert Collier
All of us struggle from time to time. Most of the time our creative struggles are waging a silent war inside our heads. A kind word of encouragement has enough power to get us out of our heads and maybe, just maybe, help us realize that we are good enough. When we offer encouragement to the people we care about there really is no telling how profound a few words can be for someone struggling. Just last night a dear friend told me that he felt that I had something very important to offer this world and he was glad I was getting out there and being heard. Hearing that made me feel like what I do matters… and it’s one of the best bits of encouragement I have ever received in my life.
“There is nothing better than the encouragement of a good friend” — Katharine Butler Hathaway
Something remarkable has come out of this little venture we call Monkey in the Cage. Each of us are making real connections, and finding real friends. A fledgling community is forming around our little show and it’s truly the most surprising and rewarding thing to come out of this whole endeavor. Our listeners have encouraged us to keep doing a show every week and our readers have encouraged us to produce content on a near-daily basis.
So, to all our friends… new and old, let’s keep encouraging each other. Greatness awaits.