Sunday was a BEAUTIFUL day for the half-marathon race in Philadelphia. No, I wasn’t running the race, however I was privileged to be cheering loved ones as they ran the 13.1 mile course. Over 20,000 people participated and the air was alive with excitement as wave after wave of runners zipped by the start line. Some spectators were standing quietly, trying desperately to find THEIR runners to cheer along–a nearly impossible task with the sea of faces in front of us. When I moved to my last viewing spot at the 12+ mile mark to give a final cheer to boost my dear ones to the finish line, I heard a loud cow bell ringing up in front of me. There stood a small group of people, ringing, shouting and encouraging ALL the runners as they ran their last mile. Wow–how wonderful was THAT? So, instead of simply waiting for MY runners to go by, I began clapping and loudly cheering for EVERYONE as they passed the 12+ mile mark. You should have seen the runners’ responses! Smiles, renewed vigor, thank you’s, high fives, fist pumps, laughter…the surge of positive energy was contagious. It was amazing how the SIMPLE act of smiling, clapping and encouraging hundreds of total strangers had made a difference–to them, and to me. The incredible bonus was that it felt as good to give encouragement as it was for the runners to receive it. It costs nothing to give someone the gift of a few words of encouragement, added fuel to move them down their chosen path.
So today, with that in mind… What will you do with your next opportunity to encourage someone–either a loved one or even a stranger? Will you take a chance to speak up and cheer someone forward on their path? I ENCOURAGE you to look and listen for opportunities to encourage the people you encounter–and if possible, do it each and every day. I believe it will change the way you look at the people and the world around you–and you’ll begin to see possibilities EVERYWHERE!