“Buy spaghetti sauce.”

That’s specific enough information for my wife, who regularly purchases spaghetti sauce, but not nearly enough specificity for me. Have you looked at the spaghetti sauce aisle recently? Who know there were 6,429 different types of sauces, ranging in flavor, chunkiness, and zest? What is “zest” anyway? I digress.

Being specific is important when it comes to spaghetti sauce, but even more so with encouragement. We’ve recently talked about the need for our encouragement to be daily and strategic; today let’s talk about being specific.

The Apostle Paul is a great example of specific encouragement. Take a minute and notice how specific he gets with as he publicly recognizes people in Philippians 4, 1 Corinthians 16, and Romans 16, to name a few places. He mentions them by name and gives specific examples of what they did to serve him, the church, and the Lord.

Telling someone “you’re awesome” is good, but telling them that you loved the smile they had as they served on Sunday is even better. Parents, instead of “good job,” say instead, “I’m so proud of how much effort you put into this project.”

This is a helpful general rule, but there’s also a leadership principle at play here: What’s rewarded is repeated.

When you tell someone they’re awesome, you may give their spirit a little pat on the back for a moment, but they may not know how to repeat whatever it was that made you think they’re awesome. Give them a specific example and chances are, when the opportunity arises, they’ll do it again.

K E V I N • M I L L E R

Feel free to  to pass this on to someone who could use some encouragement!

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