The rarest gift… encouragement

April 8, 2011 · 5 comments

10 pennies

Recipe for a happy print shop – part 3 of 8

One of the best things you can do to make your printing firm a happy place is to speak positive words of encouragement and hope to the people you work with.

If you’ll continually lift their spirit, you’ll soon observe them doing the same to each other… and to your customers.

In 1974, two years before my Grandpa Stevens died, he gave me a small paper bag filled with hundreds of brand-new uncirculated pennies. He told me I could learn a valuable lesson from those pennies if I would discipline myself to keep 10 of them in my left pants pocket every day. He explained that each day the 10 pennies in my pocket would serve as a reminder that I should bless 10 different people I come in contact with, by saying something positive or encouraging to each of them. Each time I said something “encouraging,” my grandpa told me to take one of the pennies out of my left pocket and put it in my right pocket. The goal was simple. At the end of the day, all 10 pennies should be in my right pocket.

Well… I could probably write a book about all the lessons I’ve learned from those 10 pennies, but I’ll only share one today. When my grandpa told me to move a penny each time I said something encouraging to another person, I remember thinking to myself, “That’ll be easy.” The truth is, encouraging 10 people a day is a lot more difficult than you imagine. Over the last 37 years, I haven’t always carried those 10 pennies my grandpa gave me in my pocket every day, but when I do, it serves to remind me that I need to be more positive and encouraging to the people around me.

The question is, what kind of person are you? Do your words discourage or encourage?

As the leader of your business, your family, or your circle of friends, are you doing enough to boost their energy and lift their spirits with your spoken words and daily comments? When you do this, you’ll not only feel more energized, but your printing firm will be more successful because people like to do business with positive thinking… and positive speaking… people.

Negative thinking and trash talking are contagious, and the world around us is full of it. But each of us can choose what kind of words come out of our mouth. We can help choose what kind of conversations happen in our business. Why not make a fresh commitment to yourself by choosing to speak more positive words of encouragement each day? If you do, I guarantee you will be happier, your coworkers will like you more — and your printing firm will become a happier and more positive place to visit.

And maybe, just maybe… you have room for 10 pennies in your left pocket after all.

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Linda April 11, 2011 at 9:04 am

Good Morning Mike – thank-you for your words of encouragement. I’ve known for several years now that I lack in the cheerleading section. It is something I am working on. Sounds like the Red River has started to recede so hopefully things will start their return to normal in the Fargo – Moorhead area. Blessings to you!

michelle Spurlock April 9, 2011 at 9:29 pm

Mike-thanks for the encouraging word for the day! I needed the reminder. We firmly believe God put us in this (printing) business and try to be an encouragement to others, but business has been down for a while now, not only for us but for our clients, and (too) often lately I find myself just “commiserating” with them about the bad economy etc. instead of offering hope or encouragement.
Keep up the good work!

Kathy Bush April 9, 2011 at 10:54 am

I loved your message. It takes practice but its very rewarding to work in a positive

Michael Farag April 8, 2011 at 5:20 pm


You might be interested to read the parable of the pennies by a pastor in california:

Robert Lincoln April 8, 2011 at 12:33 pm

Well, if you have pennies in your pocket today move one over to your right pocket, because you just encouraged me. In this crazy world we live in these days it is so easy to always be negative, and that’s me. God has blessed our business and we try and pass that blessing on, but it is still hard for me not to be negative. I better put some pennies in my pocket today so I can be positive and encouraging to those I come in contact with. Thanks for sharing the 10 penny story.

Bob Lincoln
Advance Printing Co., Inc.

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