This was an enjoyable episode to record as I am joined by my good friend James Brown, the CEO of EncourageX. One of the things that we both agree is crucial but missing from today’s society is encouragement. We rarely uplift others and instead default to criticism and negativity. In this episode, we discuss the following topics and more:
➡️The importance of encouragement throughout life
➡️What encouragement has done for us
➡️The ways encouragement impacts your health and mindset
➡️Tips to start encouraging those around you
➡️Why encouragement is the cornerstone of trust and healthy relationships
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Dr. Richard Harris: [00:00:00] Join me, Dr. Richard Harris, as we strive to unlock the secrets of the human body, strive for wellness, strive for great health. Follow the show on iTunes, Spotify, Google, and Android,
And now a word from our sponsors. This week’s sponsor is actually Great Health and Wellness, my company. People often ask me what it is I do as a holistic physician. And I really tell them my passion is lifestyle medicine. And of course, they ask, well, what’s lifestyle medicine. I like to describe it as what we do on a daily basis, either adds to our health or subtracts from our health and lifestyle medicine, makes sure that we’re making more deposits in our literal health savings account, which is our health versus withdrawals.
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And from that link, you can check out our other courses as well. And now to this week’s episode.
Welcome to the Strive for Great Health Podcast. I’m your host, Dr. Richard Harris, and I have with me another very special guest. It’s actually kind of funny how we met. We met because my, at the time, girlfriend saw him running around the gym and putting a lot of effort into his physical fitness. And she walked up to him and gave him a high five.
And that’s literally how we met. And she said, Hey, you need to meet my boyfriend. And so we sat down and talked, but I have with me the founder of EncourageX, James Brown. James, how are you doing today?
James Brown: [00:03:16] I’m doing fantastic. Dr. Harris. It’s such a pleasure to be on your podcast today.
Dr. Richard Harris: [00:03:21] Thank you. Thank you for coming on.
And I think it’s really cool what you’re doing with EncourageX because I think one of the things that is plaguing our world today is a lack of encouragement, and that’s for several different reasons. But what inspired you to create this platform?
James Brown: [00:03:38] I think it’s a great question. I think the simplest way to answer it is that I firmly believe that everyone is going through something, and we all need a little encouragement along the way.
The trouble is that a lot of times, the life event, topic, or situation that we’re going through may or may not be familiar to the person or people that are closest to you in your circle of influence. And they may have really good intentions to be there for you and a really personal, authentic, and consistent way.
But if they haven’t experienced it recently or ever, they can be at a real disadvantage on saying things that can help you to get through or around, or essentially through the situation that you’re going through. And our platform is really designed to help people be kinder to one another and provide them with the encouragement that they need to get through life.
The other thing I would mention in this situation is that you know, all through my life, I have been lucky enough to have people that have tried to encourage me and believe in me, even before I believed in myself. And without some of those moments of truth, where people were encouraging me, me, I’m not really sure if the trajectory of my life would be the same at the end of the day.
We all, again, are going through something, and without a little help along the way, life can be super lonely and can be a lot more difficult without the support of people that care about you.
Dr. Richard Harris: [00:05:20] Yeah, absolutely. I think you hit on something quite key there.
I was talking with someone the other day. It’s like, listen, most of the time people want to be there for other people. We just have this extreme fear of doing the wrong thing or saying the wrong thing. And that paralyzes us because we think that I have to give someone the perfect advice at the perfect time, at the perfect moment to help them.
And that’s not the case. You think about it; if you’ve fallen on the ground, you don’t need someone who’s been WWE, trained to fall perfectly, and pick up someone perfectly to help you get off the ground. You just need someone there to literally extend that arm and help you get off the ground. And I think that’s the same way with encouragement, is that we’re so afraid of a misstep.
We’re so afraid of saying the wrong thing that we think it’s better just to not do anything. And that is most definitely not the case. Now I’m curious before we go into this further what was your background before you started EncourageX? Just to give our listeners some insight into, you know, what led you into this journey?
James Brown: [00:06:30] Sure. It’s a great question. Probably one of the more traditional career paths when it comes to business. So I went to Notre Dame for undergrad, majored in business, worked for some pretty large companies like Dow Chemical, General Electric, Kraft Shell. And, you know, for me, it was and has been a great corporate experience, but I always felt like there was something really missing from my experience, as well as some of the, I’ll say them, natural gifts that God provided for me, which was really trying to lead in a way that was principally centered and more of a servant leadership mentality. And as I left my last company, Superior Energy, I decided with a lot of support from my wife, that I had this, this idea on trying to make things easier for people to encourage one another and decided that for the first time in my career, after 30 years of working in corporate America, that if I didn’t pursue this one at the age of 50, when would I pursue it?
Right. So finally had to find my own courage to take a step off the cliff and try to create a plane on the way down. And that’s how it’s felt. Actually, the good news is that we’re starting to get air, and with a lot of our corporate clients, as well as some of our thought leaders and subject matter experts like yourself, Dr. Harris.
We’re starting to, in many ways like Google when they started Google maps; they had to start with a city when they started to perfect their technology. So they started in New York, San Francisco, New York, Chicago, Houston, and now almost every part of the earth has been mapped in some kind of way.
The platform EncourageX is very much the same way. We started out with relationships, dating, marriage. And now we’ve expanded to over 1800 life events and topics where people might need encouragement, even including things like helping your child to learn algebra. It could be related to learning how to work out, eat healthy.
There’s a wide, wide range of topics where if you have friends that understand and support you, you can either say and do things that are encouraging and supportive. Or you can actually say things that are discouraging. Most of us have good intentions. The challenging times, the challenging thing at times can be, how do you translate those good intentions into things that are meaningful appropriate?
And then again, intentional meaning that you’re doing in a very consistent way.
Dr. Richard Harris: [00:09:18] Yeah, that that will lead us into our next point. But before I get there, I wanted to kind of jump back into something that you said here. And that’s been my philosophy all throughout my life. A lot of people when I was younger told me that you don’t have direction.
And I go, no, I do have direction. Just because I’ve jumped from pharmacy to MD to MBA doesn’t mean I lacked direction. It just means I’m constantly growing and evolving, and I’m seeking out new opportunities. I like to challenge myself and your mentality there is so on point that if you have an idea and you think you can do better, it doesn’t matter what age you start to do that.
Just go out there and try to leave a legacy, try to make the world a better place. And then you look at your background. You didn’t say your background was in psychology or sociology or anything. It was in business. Right. And then you came into start a business that deals with social factors. And that’s not your background, but you had an idea, and you thought you could help.
And some of the things that I’ve done is like that, you know, the consulting I do, I don’t have a background in consulting. I just had an idea and thought I can help. Our educational consulting company, same thing. None of my partners have a background in education. We just had an idea, and we thought we could help.
And we weren’t afraid to take that jump and see if we could help people and really focus on impact. You know, because if you make an impact, the money will come. So if you focus on the impact, you’ll generate revenue, and you’ll be happy generating that revenue cause every day won’t feel like work. So you already touched on the platform a little bit.
Well, let’s dive more into that. So what can people expect to find on the platform if they’re going to the website, what are they looking at, and how can they utilize the website to help them connect with other people?
James Brown: [00:11:15] Yeah, it’s a great point. Before we jump into more detail, I just want to come in in which you said about, you know, not necessarily having a psych degree or a counseling degree to focus on encouragement.
It’s funny. I always believe that you know, everything really comes down to people. Whether you are a physician, whether you’re a coach, a teacher, or a manager, the thing that’s most untapped as a resource is having really good relationships. People will follow you and really perform by tapping into their discretionary effort when they actually believe that you actually have their back.
And if they trust you, and without that trust, it can be very difficult to get people to move in the direction where everyone can collaborate and get the most out of their community and their experience. So I echo your point that whatever industry you may be in, it’s about building the stronger personal relationships.
Even as a physician, I would imagine that if a patient trusts your judgment because you’ve tried to encourage them to be in their best, there’s a much higher probability that they actually are going to take their medicine. Do the non-medical things that may be required to help their overall health. I remember you talking once to me about 36 or 33% of all healing is actually mental; I think is what you told me once that it’s something more than just the medicine.
It’s about the other things people are doing mentally to help heal themselves. So is that correct? I can’t remember what the numbers were, but I know it was significant.
Dr. Richard Harris: [00:12:55] Yeah. I mean, you can look at like placebo effect on some things, and it can be up to, you know, 80% on certain things can be related to a placebo effect. So yeah, the mind is so, so powerful.
James Brown: [00:13:09] Yeah. I think it’s a non-trivial point, but I will go back to your question when you asked what would they expect to see on platform? I’ve already mentioned that there’s over 1800 life events that we have had curated by subject matter experts, whether it be a physician, a psychologist, it could be a mom that is just a phenomenal mom.
It isn’t necessarily required to have a master’s or doctorate in a particular topic. You just have to have shown competency. And, you know, the most basic experience could be. You get a phone call from a friend, and they’re telling you about something that they’re going through. A person that wants to encourage that person could, within 15 seconds, type in the topic that they’re talking about and be able to review a quick article that’s all bullet points.
That has basically three sections; section one is what that person may be thinking about. The second is what might be encouraging to say or do. And the third is probably the most important at times is what may be discouraging, meaning things that you probably should avoid saying or doing to try to encourage someone.
From there, you’re able to actually put in information about the type of relationship you have with them. We’ve got over 70 relationships that are cashed in the system. You’re able to put in a relationship profile, which takes into consideration things about that person’s likes and dislikes and their preferences, as well as goals that you may have for that relationship.
And then, of course, the life event topic that that person may be going through. Those three things all come into our algorithms so that we can help to provide recommendations on things that you can provide as far as encouragement, and there’s basically four areas. There’s words and phrases that you can use, audio and video content, gifts, and goodwill, as well as events and experiences.
And I have to tell you; I like all four categories of encouragement. The one that I really enjoy the most is the events and experiences. And what we mean by that is it could be recommendations on good questions to ask during a conversation with someone. To make sure that they know that you care enough to ask things that are going to help allow them to really flush out their own feelings and even provide them with insights that they may not have realized had they not had that conversation with you.
One of my, one of my favorite mentors guy, Jody Giles here based in here in Houston is that a lot of times when I when I talk to him, he’ll say things like. You know, I know, I know you really haven’t said much besides a couple of questions you asked. He goes, but I feel like I’ve solved my own problem just by you asking me two questions.
And I think he says that somewhat in jest, but sometimes in a conversation, it’s more about listening and asking a few good questions to help that person to kind of think through what their feelings really may be. And, you know, a lot of times I find in personal relationships, whether they’re personal professional, we will say things that we kind of regret, right.
We just kind of blurt things out, maybe something that we saw on TV last night that was really funny on the sitcom. But as it turns out, in this scenario where you’re trying to encourage someone, sometimes humor is maybe the last thing you want to add at the end of a conversation versus the lead.
Right. And one of my favorite sitcoms is friends. And so they’ve got these six young people talking about all kinds of life events, hilarious show, but when those same life events show up with a friend of yours, you probably want to tamp down the humor and do more, share more empathy and ask more questions if you really, if you’re really trying to encourage that person.
Dr. Richard Harris: [00:17:18] Yeah. That’s, there’s so much to unpack there. And I want to jump back to one of the things that you said about listening. So being a podcast host has actually made me a much better listener because part of the dynamic, and this is something I’m actively working on, on trying to become a better host, is listening to your guests and what your guest is saying.
And then playing that back through your own lens to add value to the audience. So I was sitting there actively listening to what you were saying in, and, you know, in my head thinking, aha, you know, Oh yeah, that’s a really great point. You know, all of these things. And people need to become better active listeners.
You know this is something that’s probably going to get me flamed by Brittany. James knows my wife, Brittany; she’s a terrible, active listener. Terrible. So she’s one of those people who listens to talk, and I’m an active listener. So I listen to listen, and then I will ask clarifying questions. So instead of misinterpreting what she says, I will say, what do you mean by that?
Could you explain that further? You know, I asked her most of the time when she says something, my first, first answer isn’t a rebuttal. It’s a, what do you mean by that? Can you explain that a little further? Because I wouldn’t be exactly sure what she meant. And so that’s part of active listening is you ask questions of the other person until you completely sure you understand what they’re trying to convey.
And then another thing with the three sections on the Encouragex, you know, what they may be thinking that is so powerful because when someone comes to us with a problem, we start applying that person’s problem through our particular lens. And so I’m applying my context and my experiences to your problem.
Well, that doesn’t work because I haven’t had your experiences in your context. So when I’m giving you a solution, I’m giving you a solution as of this is the problem from my perspective, and this is how I would solve it. And the other person would be, I’d be thinking that doesn’t work for me at all. Like, why, where’d you get that from?
You weren’t even listening to me. How could you say that? And that could lead to issues, even though, like you said, you had the best of intentions in mind. And so thinking through someone else’s context is so important, you know, we call it the self-transforming mind. Where you’re able to literally pick up someone else’s lens and put it over your eyes and see, Oh, I can see that now from your perspective, I can see why you were thinking the way, you were thinking.
And now you’re much more able to give proper encouragement, proper advice, just be there for somebody, if you’re able to see things from their perspective. And I think that section is so powerful in getting people to be able to see another person’s problems through the perspective of that other individual.
And then you combine that with active listening and then the empowerment of, Hey, here’s some things that are great to say. Here’s some things that I should avoid now. I’m able to see the person where they are. I’m able to listen to them, and now I’m better able to respond. And that enhances the overall experience from the person who needs help and you as the person who’s giving help, because now you’ve really felt like you’ve made a connection and you’ve made an impact with someone, which is something that we all strive for on a daily basis is to connect with others and to make an impact, that’s purpose.
That’s the true nature of purpose. And that is something we all long for, whether people openly say it or not. Everyone behind this gate, everyone behind the closed doors, wants that type of meaning in their life.
James Brown: [00:21:08] That’s a really great point. I think, you know, I have a 11-year-old daughter who’s very much an old Sage that was working through what we call stories of encouragement between two people.
So we started to get these testimonials from people talking about how the platform has helped them to really recover from some fractured relationships, or they’ve been able to reconnect with people and actually build something beyond just Facebook and Instagram posts. And one of the stories of encouragement the recipient has said.
That after being encouraged by one of her close team members at work, that the three things she felt had increased dramatically are the following. And the first one, I think, is the most compelling to kind of reinforce your point, Dr. Harris, and that she said that she felt much more understood. A lot of people, when they talk, they talk at you; they’re talking to tell their story versus really listening.
To understand what that person is going through their lens. Your transformational lens, I think, is what you call it, is a really powerful, powerful concept. I think the second thing she said she felt a significant increase on was that she felt an increase in being supported. And the third thing that she said she felt empowered.
So she felt more understood, more supported, and more empowered. It’s funny. I happened to go to high school in Springfield, Missouri. And I happened to go to the same high school with a family that their surname was Pitt. And one of the, one of the Pitt family members was Doug. It was my; it was my, my grade, and two years above our grade was his brother Brad.
So I went to high school with Brad Pitt, and the story I’ll tell about Brad Pitt is that he was an amazing friend to most of the people in his grade level and his real distinct value proposition that I think a lot of folks don’t really get a chance to appreciate is that he really did spend time understanding his friends and was just really known for a guy that would always be around whenever you needed it.
Someone to talk to, and I’ve never lost sight of that. Even when I see him in movies today, you can just see the same empathy when he’s acting that he actually is in real life. And it’s just funny that you know, when you watch someone like that, just coincidentally, having gone to the same school, you have a sense of their background, but that whole idea of, of understanding, supporting and empowering people, I think still endears him to the city of Springfield, because everyone knows that Brad actually was a guy you can count on.
Dr. Richard Harris: [00:24:09] That’s incredible. And what’s even more incredible was you answered question number three, without me even asking.
James Brown: [00:24:16] what was question number three.
Dr. Richard Harris: [00:24:18] So we were going to talk about how encouragement impacts our mental and physical health. And you just answered that you know, if you feel more understood, if you feel like people around you are listening to you, and if you feel empowered, you’re going to go out there and conquer the world.
All right. You’ve gotten all the tools now to stoke your own internal fire, your own internal drive. And then not only that, the person who made you feel that way, guess what? You’re going to run through a brick wall for that person. You’re going to do whatever it takes to make sure that person succeeds, that person achieves their dreams.
And then you truly will function as a team. Because we talk about team building and the corporate world, but it’s really just a collection of individuals tied together by loose bonds. Well, when you are a true team like I remember my high school teammates. Like if any of my high school teammates call me up right now, I’m dropping everything to go be with them.
Some of those guys I don’t even talk to anymore, but if they call me and say, Hey man, can you help me out? I’m going through whatever it takes to go be with them because there is something that we forged together as teammates. I knew that they had my back. I knew that they were with me. I knew that they went through grueling hard times with me.
And there’s a bond there that will never be broken. Even though we may not be friends anymore, they’ll always be my teammates. And they’ll always be people that I love dearly and that I would do anything for. And I think that’s the essential part of encouragement that’s missing in the business world is that now you’ve created two great team members who are gonna do everything they can to ensure each other’s success and ensure the success of whatever project that they’re working on because they’re working on it together.
And I think that’s something that we, we classically miss in the business world.
James Brown: [00:26:18] That’s a great point. And you know, I’ll go back to my Brad Pitt example just for a moment. You know, one of the running jokes has been to your point, Dr. Harris, that if you know, in an intimate or romantic relationship, you can consistently show that you understand your significant other consistently, be seen as a person that supports your significant other, and third consistently show that you’re, that you empower your significant other, that you actually could possibly compete with Brad Pitt.
It’s just; it’s been a funny note. People will talk about, you know, when you marry someone, what are the main drivers? What’s the first thing you notice. What’s the second thing you notice. What’s the third thing you notice? And my running joke at this point has been, well, we can get you competing on the same level as Brad Pitt holistically, because it really is those three things that really make the difference between someone’s overall happiness.
It, it’s not as much about their physical presence, although Brad still has a six-pack, I’m sure. Right. He’s 50, 56 years old these days. But it’s more about the other things he does that people don’t really realize. He does do those things in spades. And if we can get closer to doing that, that’s what really builds relationships that are sustainable and make you feel as if you create something really magical and special with the human being.
And it, and encouragement really is that currency that we have an unlimited supply. But it requires you to exchange it with another person. It has to be a back and forth exchange. And when you do that, you build something that is quite unique and quite honestly becomes priceless when it comes to your relationship with another human being.
Dr. Richard Harris: [00:28:16] Yeah. We kind of touched on the next point a little bit, and I just want to see if there’s anything else that you wanted to expand on that, but why are we not encouraging and supporting each other anymore? You know, this seems like something that even when I was a kid, it was quite normal, but nowadays it seems like it’s quite abnormal for that.
You know, a lot of people subscribe to this mantra, just tough it out, you know, suffer in silence. Right. Don’t burden other people with my problems, and that’s become like the prevailing mantra. When, when we were kids, it was, you know, it’s not good to be alone. You need a buddy. Right. It wasn’t go play outside alone.
It was where your friends go find your friends. Our parents were always trying to shove me around to, to my friends and a support group. And I think that’s lost nowadays. What in your opinion has, has caused this, this shift,
James Brown: [00:29:18] If I’m, you know, really transparent about this, I think it has less to do with timing, meaning now versus, you know, previous decades or generations. I think it has a lot to do with the mindset and my family. It was definitely the tough love approach, and the words tough and love to me should never be used in the same sentence. There’s nothing about love that should be tough. I think it’s okay to challenge people to be the best they can be, but I don’t think it should be done in a way where the person comes out of it feeling emasculated or less of a human being than when they started or engaging with that other person.
We have such an opportunity to be the best version of ourselves when we’re encouraging, and I think that part of it is this mindset of, if you didn’t experience it in your own upbringing, sometimes people don’t have a point of reference, honestly, because it was never modeled to them what it means to actually encourage.
And I’ll tell a story here. When I was growing up, I can remember from the time I was six years old; If I didn’t perform a task the way my dad thought I should perform it, his response was, you’re not worth a quarter. That was his way of trying to motivate, inspire, and challenge. And you know, when you’re, when you’re six years old, that’s a, that’s a tough message to try to process.
And I can remember him continuing to use this as a motivational factor, and he would, you know, very frequently for all your listeners benefit, he would very frequently say, so you turned out okay, so it must not have been that bad. And my response to him often has been, well, I turned out okay, sure, but imagine what I could have done had I been receiving more positive encouragement.
And I’ll go one step further. I haven’t talked about this, but when I saw my dad doing the same, taking the same approach with my, with my nephew, I actually had to interject and request that he that he discontinue that approach. He was not happy about it. In fact, he used some fairly colorful language when I raised this issue with him, but he had always asked me to make sure that the next generation did better than he did.
And I asked him, I said, look, I’m going to honor your request. I’m trying to make sure the next generation does better than the previous. And one of the things that will help me to do that is if you start to use words and encourage in a way that will leave your grandchildren more whole, and again, he was, he was very upset with me, and he hung up the phone on me.
And I was really concerned that this request that I had made of him was going to be, what’s going to create a major fracture in our relationship. And it did for about 30 days until I received a phone call from him in tears, actually apologizing for not being willing to change his approach. And I’ll say, you know, bless his heart.
I think again, he had, he had good intentions with this approach, but my dad grew up without a father, and he had not seen real love being modeled. He had not seen really encouragement being modeled, and he was only working on what he had seen on TV and what he had learned on the block, which was probably the textbook definition of tough love.
Right. And I just look at that experience to answer your question more directly as to why is that not happening? I think people have not seen it modeled Dr. Harris, and when they are able to see it modeled, it can make a huge impact on not only the relationship but, more importantly, the person that is in that next generation.
Dr. Richard Harris: [00:33:56] Well, thank you so much for sharing that powerful story and that, that personal story. And you know, here at the Strive for Great Health Podcast, we’re all about stories because stories are, resonate with people. Stories are powerful; stories connect us. And I have a similar story as you; my parents had mental illness, you know, they’re still struggling with depression and anxiety.
And they did the best they could. I knew that they loved me. You know, now looking back, I understand that some of the instances and incongruencies were, because of a disease from mental health, not because of who they were as, as a character, but I didn’t know that growing up. And, you know, they would try their best to, to encourage and push me in the right direction.
But, you know, sometimes the message kind of missed, you know, I had self-esteem issues and things like that. And you know, now growing up as an adult, part of the reason why I was so interested in psychology was growing up in a household of people who have mental illness. It’s like, I want to know what makes the mind tick.
And I want to know if I have a child or something like that with these conditions, what can I do? And what’s the best way I can prevent this. And so, one of the things that I always talk about in my relationship with Brittany, how it’s different than all my other relationships, is that we truly encourage each other.
We truly have each other’s back. We truly try to be the best version of ourselves for each other but try to push each other to be better as well. And I know that that’s something that’s important to both of us. And that’s important for when, when we do have kids, is that I try to instill the growth mindset in my kids through encouraging and praising their efforts, through helping them develop strategies.
If things don’t go the right way through telling them that, Hey, life is, you know, ups and downs, right. We, we love the good portions, but we also love the downturns as a time to learn, the time to grow, as an opportunity to embrace a challenge. And, you know, there’s certain things that I didn’t know, growing up that I’ve learned as an adult, that I’m going to make sure I do my best to try and pass on.
Now I may not pass those things on; people’s personalities are widely different. And my kids are gonna grow up in a different circumstance than I did. It’s going to be a completely different world, but I’m going to do my best to try and pass on these lessons, life lessons that I’ve learned about the power of encouragement and in relationships and connections and the growth mindset to my kids because that’s something that I missed.
And I know that now where I am now, the person I am now, I wouldn’t be that person without those things.
James Brown: [00:36:51] No, I completely agree. And I’d be willing to bet a paycheck, maybe two, that your kids are going to be incredibly encouraged, though, be in that growth mindset, for sure. I think it’s, it’s part of your DNA, Dr. Harris.
There’s no question. And you know, talking about DNA always makes me think about the fact that you know, 99.7% of our DNA is almost exactly the same in every human being. It’s that at 0.03%, that makes us different, or we’re so much more alike than we are different. And the ability to really apply those differences in a way that are complementary and supportive is really what makes us incredibly unique as individual human beings.
But we need to recognize that we are, we are 99% the same as that, we, we do want to grow, but some of us are too afraid to grow. Maybe, with the latest things going on in our democracy. And, you know, it saddens me when I see values and virtues that are being modeled in a way out of fear, uncertainty, and doubt.
Right. And I think we need to never forget that. No one, no one, is born out of the womb with, with anger. No, one’s born out of the womb with the intentions to do harm to others, but we can be influenced through leadership that makes it seem like it’s okay to be mean.
And, you know, our platform is all about unplugging ourselves from the secular world and honestly doing the things that even if it’s the golden rule that you want to use, you know, do on to others as you’d hope others would treat you. I think that there’s such an amazing feeling when you’re actually encouraging someone almost, you know, the same experience as far as receiving encouragement.
We’ve got lots of data that shows that there is real power in encouraging others to make you feel encouraged as well. And I think sometimes it just requires a little bit of an encouragement to actually encourage, believe it or not. And by doing that, I think I know it’s going to sound a little bit, you know, like Apple pie here, but whether you want to call it, paying it forward or.
Finding your voice and doing what God wants you to do. I can’t think of a simpler approach to living a happy, healthy life than investing in encouraging the people that you care about, whether that be five people or 15; I think it’s the best investment you can make to have a life that’s worth living and have really resilient relationships.
Dr. Richard Harris: [00:40:02] Well, thank you for that. That’ really profound stuff. And it segues quite nicely into the final thing. And people who are looking for some practical tips, maybe they’ve listened to this podcast now, and they go, you know what? I want to start encouraging people more, but I don’t know where to start. What are a couple of tips for someone like that?
Who’s, who’s now decided that they’re going to try to be this encouraging agent, but they don’t know where to start. Is there some practical tips that you can give them just to get them started?
James Brown: [00:40:38] Absolutely. You know, even without going into the platform discussion, I would say that, you know, the first thing that we can do for people that we really care about.
Is to let them know that we believe in them; sounds like such a basic concept, but we have a lot of data that suggests that, you know, thinking positive thoughts about someone is not the same thing as telling someone what you think about them. You can be thinking all day. I’m not saying anything about prayer.
I’m saying prayer is a different mechanism here. I’m just saying when you think positively about someone, that’s not the same thing as encouraging someone. It’s pretty common. When you know someone is having a discussion about another human being. They’re like, ah, I think that person’s great. And the person who may respond back, do they know that?
And the person who is thinking well, of course, they know it’s like, have you told them. Well, no, but they should know that it’s like, well, how would they know? How am I supposed to know what you’re thinking? If you haven’t said it. So I think the first step is just to let people know that you believe in them by actually telling them. The second thing I would say that I’m a big proponent of is a lot of folks will talk about praise and recognition, which is really a backward-looking view.
It’s after someone has been successful,l after someone has performed. Well, you’ll say, Hey, you did a great job on that. And from where we’re coming from, that’s a great approach for about 20% of the situations after someone has achieved greatness, but about 80% of the most important and impactful encouragement should happen along the way as someone who’s going through something.
So the opposite of backward-looking encouragement is forward-looking. It helps people to get on their way to success. I think that recognition and rewards again are important, but it’s much easier to do because you see the end result. The thing that is much more challenging but much more impactful is to help people to see the future too.
Provide them with compassionate coaching along the way, coaching that helps them to see what they’re doing well, and it can if they continue to do those things well, that they will get further on their journey to have earned that recognition and reward. So again, the first thing is let people know that you believe in them.
The second thing is to, you know, be very focused on the forward-looking approach versus the backward-looking approach. And because of my marketing, there’s always a third thing. Right? You can’t just do two. There’s always three. I think the third thing that I think to get started on this approach is to just stop saying the negative stuff.
Just stop it. Right. I know it’s an old adage, but it really makes sense if you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all. And although you may have some empty airspace from time to time, I guarantee that if you just cut and reduce the negative comments. A lot of them that may be funny at the time, but long-term, they have a stacking effect, right.
It can be really damaging to our relationship, and of course, you know, for me, I always like to have little tools to help these things along the way; the third point about stop saying the negative things. I try to do this thing called the three set of threes. Three sets of threes is think about the impact of what you’re going to say to someone in three minutes, three months, and three years.
And if you can get to three years thinking about what you’re getting ready to say as being positive or helpful, then you’re probably going to be okay by saying it. But if after three minutes, you’re going to have regret. You probably should pump the brakes and just get past the three minutes of laughter.
Because if after three minutes you feel like you may have some regret. Is, is the juice worth the squeeze by saying things that are not very positive? Right. So it’s a, it’s a simple thing. And the more you practice it; you’ll be able to do it within a second or half a second to think. Yeah. I could say that it’s going to be funny to me for a while, but afterward, that person’s going to feel like I really wasn’t helpful.
So those are the three things that I, I would say to get started to make an immediate impact and change your life forever.
Dr. Richard Harris: [00:45:33] Awesome. Thank you so much for that. And you know, one of the things I always tell people is, yes, follow the golden rule, but don’t forget the silver rule. Don’t do others, don’t do to others what you wouldn’t want done to you. Because that also gets it into your thinking about man, what’s the impact of what I’m doing on that out of the person as well. And you’re saying, if you wouldn’t want something done to you, most likely someone else doesn’t want it done to them either, and we can all readily come to terms with what we don’t want done to us.
And so that’s another thing that I’ll try to think of as well. Yes, I think of the golden rule, but I also think of the silver rule as well. Well, James, this has been a really amazing conversation. I know it’s added a lot of value to my listeners. If you want to check out EncourageX www.encouragex.com, it’ll be in the show links.
I’ll also put James’ LinkedIn information in there. He’s a wonderful source of information as well. James, anything else you want to say before we close out?
James Brown: [00:46:40] Yeah, there’s one last thing I want to say. And again, this has been a great conversation as always; I would ask people to take the EncourageX challenge. EncourageX challenge, try to encourage ten people that you care about at least ten times over the next ten months. Tell you on the third encouragement for most people; it starts to change the relationship.
It really does. And you know, we’ve, we’ve been able to track this with some of our corporate accounts that on the third encouragement employees typically say, Hey, you’re doing something different. I kinda like it. You know, it’s something you haven’t really done in the past. And I think because of that, you know, we’re starting to realize that kindness is really cool.
It really is the new cool factor. Kindness is really kind of the new black, if you will. By doing that, you’d be surprised as to how much more attractive you will be. Maybe even as attractive as, Brad Pitt, right? It’s a; it’s really about trying to find ways to connect with people in a, in a way that’s meaningful and appropriate.
And by doing that, it’s amazing. The intimacy that will be developed in your relationships, and I’m not talking about just romantic relationships, talking about relationships that are friendships, it’s the intimacy that really makes it special.
Dr. Richard Harris: [00:48:08] Amazing challenge. And that’s a challenge that I’m going to take on. It’s a challenge. I encourage all my listeners to take on as well. And it’s definitely something that I’ve been trying to be better at as, as you know, as a new husband is give my wife, plenty of encouragement, especially, you know, now she’s, she’s looking for a job, you know? So this is a perfect time for me to put this in and work on encouraging her.
And a lot of the talks I gave with students, I always try to end it on a message of encouragement, empowerment, and it’s something that’s so small sometimes, but yeah, so impactful. So thank you again, James, for coming on. Thank you for what you’re doing with, with your platform. Again, I’ll have everything in the show notes, so you can check out the platform.
It’s an incredible platform. And there’s a lot to unpack. This is something we’re probably going to have to listen to one or two times cause there’s a lot of great mindset information in here and holistic tips that just help heal your mind. You heal your mind; you’ll heal your body.
You heal your body; you’ll heal your mind. Thank you for listening to the Strive for Great Health Podcast. And have a blessed day.
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Thank you again, and God bless.