What’s your language of encouragement?

Once upon a time.

In Chapel Hill a land far far away.

I owned a personal training studio.

Blurry, I know. The early 90s were a blurry time.

There were myriad benefits to owning the studio, but one of the biggest was Ren Man & I could go in at the *crack* of dawn and lift together.

Not only did these sessions create muscle—the strengthened our marital bonds, too. 

They also provided me with a life-insight which has served me tremendously the past 18 (!) years.

But Im getting ahead of myself.

Ren Man and I would lift together & I served as his spotter *and* cheerleader.

Two more! Come on. You have two more reps in  you!!! Id scream let him know.

And, 90% of the time, he’d eek out those reps impressing even himself with his strength.

When Ren Man and I lifted together we quickly found I needed a spotter—-not a cheerleader.

Two more! He’d encourage when I went to rack the weights.  I’d stop anyway.

Ten more pounds! He’d suggest as I lay down to bench press. Id ignore him & lift the weight I’d planned.

Ill *stop* smiling if you cheer.me.on!

 It was during those interactions I realized how different our language of encouragement is.

When cheered on I tend to stop sooner than I otherwise might (hence the play on a  MISFIT moniker for this blog)

Ren Man? When cheered on/encouraged he was motivated to do more than he thought he could.

Around this time I also started helping a friend whose goal was to lose 100 pounds.

Each day we’d chat I’d ask about her workouts & eating plan.

I soon noticed our daily calls tapered to once a week and then far more sporadic than that.

When I asked why she explained my “nagging” made her feel pressured and like a failure if she didnt measure up.

Cue life-insight moment part two.

Both of these scenarios helped me realize how vastly different all of our Languages of Encouragement are.

I do not respond well to “cheering-on” as I feel I know my limitations better than someone else.

I do respond well to “checking ins” with regards to my goals as I hear it as the fact the other person they CARES.

It was in then I realized I needed to ask all the people in my life (loved ones to clients) to define for me their Language of Encouragement.

I now knew if I didnt stop to ask  what words *they* needed to feel encouraged/supported I’d fall back upon using *my* language.  Actions and words which may not resonate with them.

(looks up from her travels down memory lane to see if anyone is still here)

I know Ive given you more info about me than you’d ever hoped to hear—but the realization above changed my life for the better.

I now know precisely what I need from others to feel supported and encouraged (and yes. 18 years later Im still a misfit).

I now know, when someone asks me for help, I need to ask what their Language of Encouragement is before I can assist.

Now you.

Have you made the time to define your Language of Encouragement? Have you shared this language with others in your life?

If youve never considered this concept before: what actions/words result in  your feeling supported? What well meaning words can cause you to feel discouraged?



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  1. Runner Girl says

    Oh my goodness I love this Miz.

    I’m hardcore and can really handle any words.
    I usually give what I can take and frequently it backfires.

  2. says

    jeez, you’re smart. every time I read one of your posts, I think about something in a new way. I’m not a fan of cheerleaders either. I’m always encouraged by someone just doing something with me, having a teammate… a very quiet teammate. when the husband works out with me, I do my best. I guess I’m inspired by watching him work hard and push past his (mostly mental) limitations. and ahhhhh, the glorious early 90s. I had a NKOTB haircut and only wore crop tops. good times.

  3. Nina says

    Wow, Carla.
    Lots of interesting points here.
    I am usually your friend and don’t hear others as encouraging me but nagging.

    • Miz says

      And in a way when I stopped and thought about it THATS how I heard Ren Man :)
      nagging me for more reps when I knew I was done.

      Im a misfit.

  4. says

    Awesome post!

    One thing I’m constantly surprised about is how different we are in what motivates us. (Or Demotivates!) And, as you mention, it’s interesting how one person’s encouragement is another person’s “nagging.”

    I too have a contrarian streak too… shocking, I know, for someone named Crabby. Being heard and understood and cared about is far more effective for me than being pushed!

  5. Healthy Mama says

    This is so very important!
    I hadn’t phrased it as you do above but I have seen in my boys a complete difference in what motivates them.

    What works with one does NOT work with the other.

    As far as my works, I’ve never made the time to define them.

  6. says

    SO very true! I find with my female friends we can really communicate to one another what we need and, follow through. I have difficulty with the men in my life doing anything other than what would work for them and force it down me like a bitter pill. However, I have learned that they’re doing this because they love me, even though it can still be annoying and sometimes cause a great deal of resentment. I am trying to let go of that resentment as it only is hurting me. It’s tough, you brought up a subject that I am right in the middle of trying to sort out. I try to just accept and not expect, but it is not easy during extremely stressful times (like we are experiencing right now) I’m rambling.. xoxo 😉

  7. says

    So true! I respond positively when pushed. My husband and I run together sometimes. When he runs 3 steps in front of me, I start to fade, but when he stays by my side and just tells me, “Hey, we’re going to pick up the pace a little,” I have no problem sticking with him. Funny!

    When I’m encouraging women in my running group, I try to read them before encouraging them. Do they need a short walking break to regroup, do they need some cheerleading, or do they just need a silent presence reassuring them that they, in fact, CAN do it?! Thanks for this post!

  8. says

    I am so very much like you. I don’t like the encouragement right when I’m working out. I have learned over the years to be much more open about what I need in general…even if it’s a night where i simply don’t feel like talking, now I say that and no one is upset it’s just a statement.

    Huge insight for any trainer!

  9. says

    As you know, language and semantics are important to me on my journey…figuring out the words that “inspire” and “facilitate” (versus “motivate”) has been KEY for me. And when it comes to training, I am just now realizing why I love my kettlebell trainer so much: he and I are very similar personalities. I am totally honest and open with him (and he’s 22, and yes, I tell him when my hormones are raging, when my body is feeling achy because my progesterone is off, etc. etc.) and he knows to meet me right where I am. I usually do more than I think I can, but on the days when I can’t, he’s right there telling me that we all have days like that.

  10. Hannah says

    This is very much how I am, too:

    Ten more pounds! He’d suggest as I lay down to bench press. Id ignore him & lift the weight I’d planned.

    I know I rebel, yet I do not yet know what motivates me.

    Another fantastic post, Miz.
    Thank you for making me think.

  11. says

    I respond to people pushing me (most of the time) so of course that is what I usually do for others.
    When my husband and I run together, I try to ask him what kind of partner he wants: drill sergeant or supporter?
    Makes sense. We have all kinds of languages: how we learn, how we teach, how we show love…

  12. says

    Lil C, Oh how I ADORE thee!!!!! Absolutely AMAZING POST!!! I’ve always “Tuned In” to the #LOE of my friends. Recently, I decided to SHIFT GEARS and embark on a NEW ADVENTURE (Part of My #Freedom40 movement). I NOW ask them WHEN THEY ENROLL “How do YOU feel most encouraged & supported?”. (I didn’t even realize what I was doing). As for me, I respond in a positive way to ALL of it BUT I REALLY LOVE “Check Ins” for the same reason you do. 😉



  13. says

    I recently read a book called “What We Say Matters”, revolving around the topic on nonviolent communication. In a haphazard summary, the book is all about figuring out how to communication YOUR needs, because you can’t help others get their needs met if your needs are met first. And if you aren’t putting yourself first, you’re essentially being harmful to others. That concept revolutionized my thinking and helped me realize that 1) I had NO idea what my needs were and 2) I couldn’t encourage others to reach their needs/goals until mine were settled. In turn, I’ve found my word choice has changed: I’m more direct, more focused. It’s helped a great deal recently in reaching my goals and helping others reach theirs.

  14. says

    And I’ll take this one step further… when I posted about something about my own husband once ages ago, a reader told me about a book that had really impacted her and her marriage. Something about languages of love. I read it and it really did make sense. Exactly what you say here but instead that we each have a different way that we feel loved and we should figure out what that is for the person in our lives and “love” them with their language, not our own.

    • says

      I loved this post and this comment! So much truth in both. Now I have to remember what was said here, because I think it’s important for so many reasons!

  15. says

    Great post! I’ve learned a similar lesson recently regarding how different we all are in how we choose to express love. It’s so interesting how the psychology of getting what you need from others applies to all aspects of life. Chris and I are dieting, but doing it so differently that sometimes we argue about it. Really? Who argues about dieting? We do! But what a helpful post. He’s not doing it wrong, just differently. And, wow, have y’all been married 18 years? That’s freakin’ amazing.

  16. says

    GREAT POST! Hmmm I am not sure what is my language of encouragement…I am with you about needing to “Check-in” hence the whole blogging thing in general. Tell people my goals and how I am doing definitely helps keep me accountable. Awesome points!

  17. Bea says

    Oh Miz.

    My boyfriend and I threw down last night over exactly this!

    After reading your blog posting I can see he may have thought he was encouraging me.
    All I heard was him saying I wasn’t skinny enought yet.

  18. says

    Hunh…I’ve not thought of this before. I think about mindful speech in terms of how I speak to myself internally and how I speak to others, but I’ve not considered what words (or actions) of encouragement I respond best to. Nor have I thought about what words others respond best to. Talk about another layer of conversation! Hmmm….

  19. says

    Carla, you always always never cease to amaze me!!! I LOVE THIS POST & NOTED!!!! I pretty much can take anything in the gym – push me, encourage me or whatever – I want to do it. Outside the workouts, it is a tougher call. I grew up feeling pressure to be a certain way & live up to expectations which lead me to feel insecure & now hard for me to try OUTSIDE the gym due to all these expectations – BUT I do try! IT is just that I am always wanting to meet expectations which puts more pressure on me.

    LOVE this & have to think more – thank you!!!!

  20. messymimi says

    Profound insight; there are love languages, i never thought of there being encouragement languages. This will help me tremendously.

  21. says

    This is really really interesting and thought-provoking, love it Carla! Do you ever find your language of encouragement changes depending on a) what mood you’re in and/or b) who’s doing the encouraging? Sometimes if someone told me “one more rep” I’d be “yeah why not” or other days I’d be “screw you!” and it would be different if it was say, my kickboxing coach vs my mother back in 1990. Hehehe.

  22. MizFit says

    OH PEOPLE. If you could see me dancing around and Ren Man thinking Im nuts you’d laugh. Im off with the Tornado to PLAYout at the park before it’s 100+ degrees but your comments here have made my day.

    Even after blogging for 11 years every time I press PUBLISH on a post I pray it resonates with SOMEONE the way it does in my head.


  23. says

    I honestly never thought about my language of encouragement. I do know that it does NOT encourage me when people are shouting most words of encouragement during races. I would prefer to hear something along the lines of “looking good” or just calling out my name (if it’s on my bib) or #…the simpler and less cheery, the better for me. LOL

  24. says

    I definitely do not like to be micromanaged! Like your friend, it actually deters me from the ultimate goal because I feel like I’m never doing enough. However, left alone, I will kick my own butt and reach my goal more quickly.
    Great insight in this post :) I’ll keep it in mind as my baby girl grows as to how she best is encouraged!

  25. says

    My husband and I are the same as you two, but opposite! I respond well to encouragement (but it has to be hard, mean, and usually involves swearing!) but my husband just wants me to shut up when I spot him.

  26. addy says

    “One more Rep” is certain to make me stop. And the trainer that Yells or Pushes (verbally) will send me to the showers. Work with me – help me count – spot me – do NOT yell at me! And daily check-ins would be too much for me too.

  27. Wanda says

    I, too, have thought a great deal about my love language (dating much? :)) and not at all about my encouragement needs.

    Thanks Mizzy.

  28. says

    Great points! We were taught to take into account something similar in teaching spin, that some are motivated by encouragment, others need a challenge or competition (who will get to the top first?) and others need reminded that they’ll get fitter/stronger/burn calories/etc to dig deep and give it their all. Every coach or trainer should have a variety of motivational styles!

  29. says

    I’ve never really thought about it, but you’re right, it’s important. I know that I don’t respond well to being “forced”. War and fighting words also don’t do it for me – I’m much more into co-operation. I guess I want people to reinforce the positive and teach me that which I still have to learn.

  30. says

    What a great post…I need my husband to read it. I’m always getting mad when he’s pushing me by telling me to visualize my muscles working. If I visualize I lose focus. I need numbers, I need a goal to count down to. He wants me to push to failure. It’s always important to remember that we all work differently and that’s ok.

    In other news we are opening our own small personal training studio in July. Tips??????? :)

  31. says

    I like to be told I’m awesome. It works for me. 😉
    This post reminds me that I’d like to get back to lifting with hubby in the mornings…

    • Miz says

      ok I know you’re kind of joking but that’s another way Im a misfit. You can tell me I’M AWESOME all day long—but if I’m not there…if I don’t BELIEVE it …the words are hollow.

  32. says

    This is a great point in the form of a lovely post, and I was still there when you looked up from your memory lane trip, thank-you-very-much! 😉 This resonates with me especially because encouragement means different things to different people when it comes to fitness. For me, having a history with disordered thinking about eating and exercise, encouragement is best in a format along the lines of “Good for you, but check in with yourself, and if you’re done then you should be done for the day.” Hearing “one rep more!” tends to make my mind fill with thoughts of what I should be trying to do and should be pushing myself to do, and I am trying not to hail from the land of shoulds any longer. But to another person, they NEED that push, they need it the whole workout, to keep them going! That’s why my family & friends have taken the time to learn my language of encouragement, and for that I am forever grateful.

  33. says

    Those words of encouragement are soooooo important!

    Those last two reps, they ARE in you, you just need that positive language to get it out of you! :)

    The POWER of words.

  34. says

    I completely get this! When I was in sports, I had a coach who hadn’t realized this and just yelled at everyone expecting to get the same response.

    Guess what, I don’t work that way! I think about it everytime someone asks me for a little encouragement. It’s important to know how they respond.

  35. says

    Great post. I am the same way, cheering on might make me end it earlier than the cheering in my head. I am probably my biggest cheerer/slash/motivator or at least my stubbornness is. My language of encouragement is simply being inspired by the amazing boundaries I watch others push, it’s what I’ve found in this giant band of bloggers. When my inspiration wanes, I just come back to the blogosphere for more and it fuels me once again.

  36. says

    When I was a kid and I’d get hurt, it would kill me when people would say “are you ok?” I’d just want to smack them and say, “I’m crying and bleeding, do I look okay?”. I learned to just nod my head and vow to never ask others the same question.

    Love this post. As usual, you get my mind thinking and inspire me.

  37. says

    I need praise…lots and lots of praise to get me motivated.

    You put on your running shoes? Yay! Go Jill! You’re Awesome!

    You made it through Zumba without dying? Wow you’re amazing Jill!!

    You did ten whole push ups? YOU ARE THE GODDESSS OF FITNESS, JILL!!!

    That’s what I need. Now I just have to find someone to walk around behind me all day praising me and I’ll be golden. :)

  38. says

    I’m not sure that I fit 100% into one of these groups, although I certainly know many people that do. I work well with someone pushing me most of the time, but I also know my limits and will stop when it is too much. And I LOVE the nagging accountability, that works really well for me too – I hate to admit I skipped a workout. Great points about learning your own style and that of those you work with!

  39. says

    I love that my husband says I should do what works for my body. He is a long distance runner and that holds zero interest for me…but it is what works for him.

  40. says

    LOVE THIS SO MUCH. We all respond differently to various types of encouragement and what not…and this is a perfect example of it! I tend to respond negatively to encouragement surrounding image (i.e. do this exercise to whittle your middle) and better in response to getting stronger (i.e. this challenges your body). After battling my ED, any exercise revolving “image” is daunting and makes me want to quit. But if I know that I’m mentally challenging myself AND physically challenging myself, I never want to stop! Thanks for the thoughts. As always, you inspire me and make my heart sing! xoxo

  41. says

    I have finally realized that while I like hearing encouragement…It’s nice, it doesn’t really motivate me….any motivation I get has to be internal. Period. Or it isn’t going to last. I tried encouraging a friend with offers of babysitting etc. and instead I think she just felt pressured and angry. Which wasn’t what I meant to do. When I feel that way about someone’s words to me, I try to figure out what kind of insecurity in my the words are bringing out and deal with that. Good post.

  42. says

    My husband would say I’m always out to prove people wrong: If I don’t think I can do something, to motivate me he’ll agree with me, he’ll say “you’re right honey, you can’t do that xyz goal”. Then I’ll work my butt off to prove him wrong.
    8 years ago, when I was running half marathons and marathons, before I was pregnant with my first daughter my co-workers told me to enjoy running now because there’s no way I’d be able to do that after having kids… HA! Look at me now! I often wonder if it’s because of them that I train so hard?

  43. says

    First, I just have to agree, the early 90s were blurry to me as well. 😉

    Also, after 28 years of marriage(!!!), we have learned a new language of encouragement with running together…who knew? I’m actually amazed that we have been able to do this without wanting to kill each other, but we’ve actually become quite the team in getting through the long runs, waking up before the crack of dawn, and reaping the rewards together after.

  44. says

    You and I react the exact same way. Someone starts “cheering” for me and I get pissy, annoyed and immediately want to quit. I want so desperately to be that couple that works out together and motivates each other but the second my husband steps into my space in our home gym in the basement when I’m working out I get instantly annoyed even if he’s encouraging me. It’s my time and I want to be the only one if my head during those workouts. I push myself way harder than any outside influence could. I know not all people are like that and even though I don’t react well to verbal encouragement, I still tend to be that way with others. Maybe I need to reevaluate that or at least ask them in the future like you said.
    Awesome post.

  45. says

    i LOVE this. future husb and I have very different languages of encouragement. HE very much like yours, needs verbal encouragement “you can do it” “one more” “youve got this” I on the other hand, actually work better when people are all “you can do it.” “thats just crazy” “why would you even want to do it”

    oh so you think i cant? WATCH ME PROVE YOU WRONG. I also found out recently that I just so much as need someone on a machine next to me. doing nothing but minding their own… “wow theyre not even out of breath yet. OKAY OKAY I can push one more mile.”

    humans are CRAYYYZY. in a totally awesome way, mostly

  46. mandy says

    wow, this was awesome to read!
    i have definitely thought of this before, though couldn’t quite place my emotions when it happened. I hate the last 500m of a race because of the cheering crowds. it makes me feel overwhelmed and pressured to do well, and as soon as that happens i want to stop. a long time ago on a run with my then boyfriend, he went drill sergeant on me, and i got so mad at him! he thought i would like that style of encouragement. i was able to tell him that i actually don’t and gave him some tips on the ways i do like to be encouraged. in a trainer, i need someone to show me what to do and what they expect then i’ll take it from there. in a person, i need them to ask questions, ‘think you can run another 200m? lets try to pick it up’ instead of demanding something from me. i try to be honest with people about how i feel supported, and i will definitely be making more of an effort to find out the ways in which they feel supported also.
    thanks again for this read today!

  47. says

    Ooh great questions! I think my preferred language of encouragement changes depending on my mood. I like being told when I’m doing something well, but sometimes I need a more aggressive approach in order to push me past my limits. I really don’t like being yelled at in the way some guys do when they train (it makes me want to yell back, not try harder!!) but someone who doesn’t take any crap and doesn’t let me slack is very much appreciated. The ‘check-in’ method, as you mentioned, is also effective for me. If I’ve got someone chasing me up to check in or find out how I’m progressing on a goal, it makes me so much more likely to behave myself and actually focus on it. They might not know if I’m lying, but I do, and I have the guiltiest conscience ever!

  48. says

    You are a walking zen book of enlightenment… is that redundant?

    Anyways, I live in the “need a cheerleader” category UNTIL it becomes annoying, which can be at anypoint said cheerleading is happening. So I encourage you to climb into my brain and now how I feel at any given moment so that I am not annoyed. okthxbai.

  49. says

    I like to be positively pushed. In my face and I will totally rebel. I have quite a chip on my shoulder. I tend to be positive as well, but I am known as the person to give tough love when it is asked of me.

  50. says

    This is a GREAT post – I was just thinking about this Monday when my (new) trainer said to me (as I was doing an interval) “This is a sick pace, Sarah, I’m going to hold everyone to this standard now” – I was PUMPED hearing this. Made me motivated – but I like the tough talk. The “I have 60-year-old clients who can do this, you gonna let them beat you?” kinda talk. And I know I’m not necessarily typical. I’m going for my training certification and so this keyed me into how a discussion w/a client can be so helpful – what motivates you? What de-motivates you? What drives you batty? What’ll get your motor running? It’s all about finding what makes YOU tick, right? This resonates! You rock.

  51. says

    Oh, what awesome insight! I am more in your camp, where I deflect the cheer leading and just want to be in my own zone. But how important it is for us to learn the language of others so that we can support them the way that they need. Thank you!

  52. says

    I wish more trainers understood this! I loved the trainers I worked with, but almost all of them said to me at one time or another, “Oh this is easy!” Maybe for them, but my eggplant-colored complexion and the unladylike grunts from me said otherwise. I was not inspired to greatness by being told I was struggling with “easy”. To be fair, when I told them I didn’t like it, three of the four admitted that they hadn’t thought of it that way and stopped immediately. (The fourth didn’t stop, but he smiled when he said it to let me know he was *trying* to get under my skin. I’ll admit: it worked. :))

  53. says

    I’ve never thought of “encouragement” as a per-individual thing. When you look at it, you are SO right. Everyone reacts and responds differently to encouragement. Someone may take something completely differently than it was meant to be taken. I am all about sarcasm, but I’ve learned to be very careful!

    As for me, I love having a cheerleader when I workout, especially when I lift. It gives me a little more oomf and a “I think I can,” mentality!

  54. says

    Carla, this post was a lightbulb moment for me!
    I work as a personal trainer and group fitness instructor and am definitely the ‘cheerleader’ type. That’s what gets me moving.
    I do have clients that tend to drop off over time and you’ve made me wonder whether they perceived my cheering as nagging…
    I think I’ll add you question to my initial intake questionnaire.

  55. says

    Haha, so true. Everyone is so different. I go for something HARDER when someone really believes in me…that totally boosts me!

  56. says

    Very wise observations. the cheerleader encouragement type annoys me but I do appreciate a sense of concern. I don’t mind the persistence or repeated attempts. I’ve just had my fill of “rah rah” because it comes off insincere.

    • Janis says

      Agreed, although I do mind persistent attempts. It’s amazing how generalized this is, too — it’s applicable not just to workouts, but to life.

  57. cheryl says

    I work with children with autism. They don’t like to be “talked at”- much less talked TO most of the time.
    I have learned to choose words and phrases tailored to the individual child/student.
    Sometimes people say I am the quietest speech pathologist they know.
    But the kids come and hang with me.

    My best runs/races were when I was encouraged by the wind, an overhead hawk and the sound of my footsteps on the sandy trail. It’s all I need to hear.

  58. says

    This is SO insightful and a beautiful reminder. It reminds me a lot of the “Five Languages of Love” and learning to speak your partner’s love language. I didn’t really think about it beyond my marriage but now I will :)

  59. says

    Awesome post Miz! I went through a phase of not telling anyone when I was in “diet” mode because I didn’t want the check-ins or even the words of encouragement…unless I asked for them. But at the gym I want a PT to tell me I can do it because if I was alone I would definitely stop. This is why I love spin…you can’t just walk out, ya know? We all speak our own language!

  60. says

    Oh man, I hadn’t even thought about this but *aha moment* it’s so true.

    I love being egged on during a workout to *just do a little more* or being verbally challenged or encouraged, and I dig the checkins and constant “pressure” to keep on track. Zliten? That pretty much shuts him down. AFTER we can discuss and analyze and high five and all that, but DURING? He’d rather I shut up and let him do his thing, THXUVERYMUCH. He also would probably rather eat a bag of rusty nails than track food. :)

  61. says

    I so relate to this Carla. For me, I don’t do well when someone yells stuff at me. I shrink away.

    Really thought provoking post – I need to be more aware of the encouragement/support needs of others and not assume they would be like my own. Thanks for the reminder :)

  62. says

    Great post Miz and you’ve got me pondering… I can happily ignore a cheerleader (roll my eyes and keep going), but I tend to be harder on myself than anyone could be on me – so try to push myself when I’m working out. I think.

    So, I don’t mind an encourager I guess. I’ve never worked out with someone who yells a lot though (other than in sports as a kid – which I didn’t like… I found it demoralising in retrospect).


  63. says

    Very interesting. I think I mostly just want the time and space to do my thing. I do appreciate it when my husband asks how my run was, but I wouldn’t want him asking how far, how fast, etc.

  64. says

    GREAT post, Carla – this is something I always find difficult when pacing a race. In the final miles of a race, I always meet a lot of new people, and I have no idea what their language of encouragement is – do they need me to go drill sergeant and yell at them so they don’t give up? Do they need me to be encouraging and sympathetic about how great they are doing? In addition to trying to figure out what each individual needs, I also struggle with the fact that MANY other runners are listening to me as well – so I have to tailor my message to help the most people possible. Tricky stuff, but that’s why I love the challenge of pacing!

  65. says

    This is a great think piece! Good for all managers and people in general even to know about and consider. I hadn’t really thought about it before, so when I did, I realized I need doubt from someone, and then I get motivated. I want to prove someone wrong, or defy doubt in general. I went through a phase in college where I was highly motivated to be really fit and strong because most of the guys at my school doubted women’s ability or the appropriateness of strong women. Huge motivator for me. When my dad doubted my skill back in high school it motivated me to go from a B- student to straight A’s. So now I know. I hate it when people cheer me on actually. It really bothers me. Check-ins are cool though. Not motivating, but nice.

  66. says

    This sounds like a take on the Five Love Languages! I LOVE that book!

    To be perfectly honest, I’m not sure what my language would be. I’m a solo workout-er type person, so the only thing I ever hear is my own thoughts.

    Which, admittedly, are not the best in the world.

  67. says

    Aw–so insightful. Motivation is so very intriguing to me–to see what ‘buttons’ to push for each unique, individual. Thank you–so transferable to so many facets of life!

  68. says

    I’m not quite sure how you manage to do it but I feel like every time, you happen to tap into something that’s on my mind but I haven’t quite been able to articulate. I’ve been struggling with trying to articulate how I can feel supported and encouraged and I know that I definitely don’t respond to the cheerleading and rah-rah-rah. That just makes me self conscious.

  69. says

    I love this post! I too am a trainer, but the language I respond to is much different than some of my clients. It’s another aspect of the job to know what that language is that will motivate. The only thing I can compare it to for myself would be in my power yoga class. It’s so physically challenging, and I, like you don’t really like to be “cheered on” or yelled at. However, if I AM doing it, I love hearing that I am doing a good job. That motivates me a lot more than “come on you can do it!”

  70. AnnG says

    What an eyeopening post! I do a lot better if I am accountable to someone on a daily basis!

  71. says

    Very interesting. You’ve definitely given me something to think about. How naive to assume encouragement was so one sided. Interesting indeed!

  72. says

    LOL! I swear it. Whenever I’m out running with my son and he pushes me to push it harder in the final stretch, that’s the exact point when I feel like I’m gonna hyperventilate and wanna bonk him square in the nose. I prefer the check-in, please.

  73. says

    Wow. This is eye-opening. I really need to think because I think my language of encouragement has changed. And even though I believe we all need to find what works for us, I still think that if the mindset works for me, it should for someone else. Not true!

  74. says

    Sometimes encouragement isn’t enough to make us work harder. Sometimes all we need is a little challenge from our peers to make us want to contest them. a sort of ‘reverse-psychology’ effect. It kinda works like hypnosis for weight loss.

  75. says

    It took me a long time to figure out what I need as encouragement. For me there is a fine line between nagging and encouragement and between tracking and neurosis. I need a challenge. But not too much or I’ll push until I hurt myself. Slowly figuring it out. Once I defend my thesis and have less crazy in my life I think it will get a bit simpler…I’ll have more time for planning and thought instead of just a list of things to do and move on from.
    Tricky this life business :)

  76. Paul says

    I do not even know how I ended up here, but I thought this post was good. I do not know who you are but definitely you’re going to a famous blogger if you are not already 😉 Cheers!

  77. Maurice says

    This really is something I truly need to try and figure out for myself. It would help in my weight-loss efforts :/