The only reason encouragement matters is discouragement is real.

On June 2, 2011, I woke up discouraged and couldn’t think of anything to write. Then it hit me. Write about overcoming discouragement. I was embarrassed to post something so basic and raw, but it did much better than expected and generated good conversation.

The post was 22 POWERFUL WAYS TO OVERCOME DISCOURAGEMENTThis post is an edited version of the original.

I offer it again today because two emails came in from people who have lost loved ones. Other messages arrived this week from people facing career, business, personal, and employee challenges.

Everyone needs encouragement.

Lack of encouragement is discouragement.

15 ways to grapple with discouragement:

  1. Address the problem of feeling like you’re the only one. Ask trusted friends if they ever feel discouraged.  In this sense, misery loves company.
  2. Change your environment. Get out. Get away. Change a routine.
  3. Sleep, but don’t over-sleep. Rest, but don’t over-rest.
  4. Take long walks.
  5. Lift someone else. Get outside yourself. The things you feel are common to others.
  6. Ride it out. Give yourself time. The word ‘Eventually’ in the title was intentional.
  7. Be kind to others. Hold the door open. Smile at people. Say thank you often and loudly.
  8. Celebrate small progress.
  9. Finish a task that you’ve been putting off.
  10. Let go anger. Forgive. Release bitterness. Just draw a line and start fresh with people. Don’t expect your pound of flesh.
  11. Protect yourself from blood suckers.
  12. Evaluate yourself. Use discouragement as motivation to reflect.
  13. Record what you’re learning about yourself and leadership. Journal.
  14. Remember that negative experiences often change us for the better.
  15. Pray.


  1. Beat yourself up because you feel discouraged.
  2. Wait for others to encourage you. Encourage yourself.
  3. Make important decisions.

What do you do to encourage yourself?

How do you encourage others?