The Power of Encouragement


Have you ever wondered how ordinary people become extraordinary? After the terrorist attacks on Paris last Friday there has been a groundswell of support for everyday people to live their lives with love and courage in the face of terror and hate.
I have come to think that support and encouragement for our fellow human beings can light a beacon for most to transfigure their ordinariness into greatness.

In my small corner of the world, where I have known no such horror, life has continued as I committed to getting back to the business of training hard and bettering myself. The last two weeks have been a turning point for me as I’ve let go of the moniker of “injured duck” and replaced it with “making a comeback” (whatever that means). Along the way, I have been buoyed by gentle encouragement from the most unexpected of places, and I’m convinced that encouragement and words of kindness really do make the world a better place.

For example, this week I’ve been privy to acts of encouragement in most of my training endeavours. It started when somebody at the pool told me that they were “glad to see me back” (after a month of full time work, lunchtime squad visits have been few and far between). Then on Wednesday, I rode with Coach Liz and the girls and we had a bit of fun egging each other on, that is, when we had enough breath to talk between efforts.

Thursday saw me riding with the UQ Triathlon and Adventure Club and doing some efforts at Long Pocket. Again, I was struck by the friendliness of the group and encouraged that I was doing a little bit better at the efforts – triathletes seem to train in a completely different manner to road cyclists and I am cultivating a respect for this.

Today (Friday) I met my mate Lisa, and we did strength-endurance repeats of Mt Gravatt. After a big week, I was rather glad that we had organised this riding date as it would have been all too easy to catch a few zzzz. Feeling grateful, I was also able to encourage a lady who had never climbed the “big hill” as well as meet some ladies from the FB group “Brisbane Chicks Who Ride Bikes”. This particular group has been instrumental in encouraging women to take up riding and hop on their bikes. It is really lovely to see such positive energy, where inclusivity and positivity are the name of the game. In Melbourne, check out GirlRide

Determined to get in another swim session before the week was out, I headed to the UQ Pool, where an older gentleman saw me come to a stop on my bike, commenting that I must be hot. I replied that I was going to jump in the pool and he suggested that I go to swim squad instead. I agreed – it was a “Finfit” session where the whole workout is done with flippers. Heeding my tendon physio’s advice, I asked if I could participate sans flippers and once the warm up was done, I met the other people in my lane – well to be exact, they met me. It seemed to be a mix of mums, students and older retirees – probably a typical crowd for 8.45am.

“Welcome to Lane Nine, dear!” “My name is (it’s all escaped me from smiling too hard). “You’ll love it here”. “Wow did you do those sets without flippers? You’re amazing!” I gently explained that I was recovering from hamstring surgery and that flippers weren’t allowed. That didn’t seem to faze them. Upon cool down they explained that they have coffee and catch ups on the days that end with “Y” and that I was most welcome to join them. As I was picking up one of the little Lucys from school, I had to decline, but left feeling like at the heart of it, the world is a good place – and at times like this we all need it.

Tomorrow I am planning on giving back a little and doing a Cycling Australia Cycle Skills instructor course. I can’t wait to be able to help others get into riding and who may be feeling apprehensive about taking that first step – or pedal stroke.

Happy weekend to all!

7 thoughts on “The Power of Encouragement

  1. So many good people and goodness in the world we need reminders and encouragement, just as you showed me kindness Liz x

  2. I too agree that our world is full of wonderful encouraging people Liz. We all need to remember this in the face of the events that have happened this week in Paris. It only takes a smile or a helping hand from one person and your day can be turned around.

  3. Oh that’s great Liz. I noted a fellow cyclist commenting on your support on FB recently and it’s nice when that happens.

    I’ve had a couple of positive job interviews of late. I’ve struggled to even find any decent jobs locally (this is probably the second in 3yrs that I actually really want) so I’ve applied for a lot of really low-level stuff and I don’t even get interviews. Whereas this time around (in the private sector) they actually think I’m overqualified for the job I applied for and have said stuff like, “We don’t often get people of your calibre applying for jobs here.”

    Honestly, I almost cried after starting to feel like a big fat failure. I mean, I’ve often felt like that physically / fitness wise, but not job wise. 🙂

    Suddenly I’m not feeling quite as bad….

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