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It is an undeniable fact that people appreciate encouragement. Encouragement can come in many forms – from people, to writings, or even music.

For Dr. Michele and I, a particular source of encouragement came to us in an unexpected place and from an unexpected person. For the sake of keeping this person anonymous, I will call him “Tom” and tell you his story.

How Dr. Michele and I met Tom

We first met Tom while exercising in our gym. Tom doesn’t say or speak much to anyone. He just minds his own business, which is certainly a lesson from which we all could receive.

Kingdom Fuel - Drs. Mark & Michele Sherwood

We weren’t sure about Tom at first. Was he overly focused? Too intense? Mad at everyone? We were uncertain, to say the least. Though we could always tell that Tom was keeping an eye on us. After several months, we eventually progressed to the “saying hi” stage of the relationship. That is about as far as it went. Then, it all changed.

One particular day, Tom made the approach toward us as he appeared to be leaving the gym. We could tell he was purposeful and bent on delivering a message to us. Yes, this was going to be more than just a simple “hello.”

Tom said, “I’ve got something for you.”

At that moment he handed me a card which read, “Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success.” This was a quote by Henry Ford.

The Gift of Encouragement

Both Dr. Michele and I were stunned and pleasantly surprised. Tom was trying to encourage us. We were thankful and overjoyed. To our amazement, Tom repeated the same act the next day with an equally motivating quote – “our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try one more time.” This one was by Thomas Edison.

We couldn’t believe it, but this behavior continued day after day after day. To date, every time we have seen Tom (for more than a year now) he has given us a card with a different motivational quote. He never says too much other than “I’ve got a good one for you.” Here is just a sampling of a few:

  • Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts – Winston Churchill.
  • 80% of success is showing up – unknown
  • In the end, it’s not the years in your life that counts, it’s the life in your years – Abraham Lincoln
  • Success is nothing more than a few simple disciplines, practiced every day – J Rohm
  • Once you quit, it becomes a habit – Vince Lombardi
  • Keep your face to the sunshine and you cannot see your shadow – Helen Keller
  • Winners never quit and quitters never win – V Lombardi
  • Develop success from failures. Discouragement and failure or to the surest steppingstones to success – Andrew Carnegie

I can go on for many hours reading these inspirational, encouraging, and uplifting quotes from many of the world’s famous leaders. Now, I have a whole gym bag full of cards with quotes from Tom. Wow, what an encourager! He does it every day.

We are grateful to have a Tom in our life. As a matter fact, I can undoubtedly say that everyone needs a Tom in their life too. This leads me to an inspirational quote for you:

If you don’t have a Tom in your life, be a Tom to someone else. – Dr. Mark

You might also enjoy: 10 Benefits of Gratitude