When I was a child, the tornado, witches, angry wizards and hosts of monkey minions in “The Wizard of Oz” frightened me. Yet the movie still fascinates me and as an adult, I’ve come to appreciate the humor in the movie that I couldn’t see as a child.
One of the funniest parts to me is when The Lion, Tin Man and The Scarecrow enter the Haunted Forest on the way to the castle of the Wicked Witch of the West. A sign that said, “I’d turn back if I were you” stopped them in their tracks. The Lion read the sign to the group and then acting like the scaredy-cat he didn’t want to be, immediately turned to run away, believing the sign’s threat.
The Tin Man and the Scarecrow weren’t going to let him get away with a cowardly retreat. As soon as he bolted, they rushed after him and brought him back. He took a deep breath and started again until they encountered the owls with red glowing eyes. Once more, the Lion made an about face and headed the other way. Without missing a beat, the Lion and Scarecrow went after him and turned him back in the direction of the evil castle where Dorothy was being held. They needed him after all to complete their mission.
Later, on the verge of reaching the castle, the trio was making plans to rescue Dorothy and the Scarecrow told the Lion, “You’re gonna lead us.” Of course, that caused the Lion to tremble and fall into a dither, but his friends would not take no for an answer.
The Tin Man and the Scarecrow were there for the Lion to help him work through his fear and discover his true courage. They knew he had the courage to do it under that big fluffy, but timid-looking mane.
Have you ever turned back or given up on a goal or something you wanted to accomplish when the road got rough and scary? Have you seen a friend give up on a dream? Most of us have at least once in our lives. Great friends are like the Tin Man and the Scarecrow – they stand for us, push us and believe in us when we waver in our commitment. Great friends don’t let us turn back. When we have friends in our lives that believe in us, we have much more courage for the journey.
I have dear friends, coaches and clients who always encourage me when I am starting a new program or developing a new idea. Sometimes I need a subtle (or not so subtle) push to keep on my path and keep up my focus and courage when I am moving into uncharted waters. I am very blessed to have them in my life.
My definition of ‘encourage’ is to inspire someone with faith and confidence. All of us need that from friends and family. This week, whom can you encourage to help along their journey? Who will you keep from turning back?
Be on the lookout for chances to encourage people. Make a point to encourage at least one friend or colleague this week. You never know what difference you will make and you may be the spark that motivates someone to keep going and not turn back.