A little encouragement helps…REALLY???

when its time

by Kenneth Justice

~ Yesterday at coffee one of the regulars asked me what I was doing this weekend…..and upon finding out about my upcoming coffee house tour they became really excited. “Holy cow, that is so cool! I wish I could do something like that” she said

“aren’t you going to California to work in that teaching job you were telling me about?” I asked

A frown formed on her face, “No, I wasn’t accepted……now I’m done with school and I simply don’t know what to do” she said

We talked for a little while longer and I simply encouraged her the best I could. I think I told her something about finding out what she loves in life and to try and pursue that…….I won’t pretend that my little encouragement meant all that much; but its always nice to receive even a little bit of encouragement from others.

There’s a lot of things in this world that can bring us down,

—) Turn on the evening NEWS and its easy to get depressed

—) Listen to a crank boss and you can feel deflated

—) Look at statistics on pollution, crime, or fill-in-the-blank and its easy to be discouraged

I’ve noticed that its far too easy to discourage others……and it usually takes a little bit more work to encourage. But isn’t that what all of us need…..a little encouragement?

Emerson wrote, “Our chief want is someone who will inspire us to be what we know we could be.”….and its as true in the 21st century as it was hundreds of years ago when he penned it.

This morning I simply wanted to take a moment to thank every one who has commented, emailed, and written me with encouragement and feedback regarding this crazy Drinking in the Culture Tour that I’ve come up with……when I first decided to try and make this happen; I didn’t know if my article would be met by the sound of crickets…….or excitement.

Encouragement is major source of energy……I know from firsthand experience that when people have encouraged me in something; I often found greater peace of mind when I pursued my goals. The choice I made many years ago to pursue a college education in psychology and counseling was directly related to the encouragement I received from two particular people, “Kenneth” they both told me, “Your personality would fit really well in the human service field. It’s in your nature to be around people” they said.

And in many ways I really enjoyed my time working with people in the human service field. I learned enough in the few years time I did it….to last a lifetime. When I made the decision to go on sabbatical (now more than a year ago) from counseling……I wasn’t sure what to do with myself., “Were all of those degrees, and all that time working in counseling all-for-nothing?” is what kept going through my mind. When on a whim I began a blog……it was the encouragement I received from a number of readers and fellow bloggers that helped keep me going.

It’s now only a few hours till I leave to the airport for what will be the first leg of my year long journey of 100 coffee houses spanning 10 countries….and more than 25 U.S. States…..

My final schedule is almost complete and I should have it posted in the upcoming days.

I hope to see as many people over the coming year and share a cup of coffee with you,


(P.S. If you haven’t heard I’m going on a national and worldwide tour of 100 coffee houses in 2014 check out my link for the news and stay tuned for dates and locations <link> )


Categories: Culture & Society

Tags: , , , , ,

93 replies

  1. So true! I think the tour sounds like a great adventure and I hope it is fulfilling for you.

  2. Good Morning, Kenneth! Have a fantastic time this week. Relax, enjoy and write your heart out. I can only imagine how excited you are about CR. It’s warm again here in Houston, so my guess is that it’ll only get warmer the more south you go. Yay!

    Prayers for a blessed trip!


  3. I wish you a wonderful journey! Looking forward to hearing your stories form the road. Bon Voyage!!

  4. As time goes by . . things make sense more later. Why they did not happen in the first place.

  5. That RSA short video The Power of Empathy I tried to send you, pointed this concept out. When you are talking with someone that has become discouraged the introduction into the conversation of encouraging ideas is crucial. They are not looking to be told what they did wrong. They are not needing some way to fix their situation. They are craving your ability to see their talents and unique human worth.

    • “They are not looking to be told what they did wrong. They are not needing some way to fix their situation. They are craving your ability to see their talents and unique human worth.”

      I won’t add anything to that because you said it so well!

  6. I am looking forward to read about your journey.
    Encouragement also comes in the form of loving what you do. No matter how much encouragement you get if you are not happy it is not going to happen.
    discouragement is just all around us. or more to say the unhappy feeling about oneself.
    a teaching job as eh lady has. to teach children to think and discuss life. how beautiful is that and she is discouraged?

    I wish you well on your journey. We keep an ees out I am sure to where you will be.

  7. Encouragement is the fuel of dreams.

    I learned of its power during my summer of change. No matter how many roadblocks I ran in to, or days where I was beginning to question my successful leave from homelessness…I had one person in my corner who ceaselessly encouraged me, mostly in the form of moral support and a belief that I would do just fine. And then one day…everything turned around completely…within a 24 hour period I got a job…a home…and a car. I made it!

    It affected me so deeply that it was the number one action I took when I reconnected with my estranged daughter. I muzzled my opinions and simply encouraged her and showed her that I believed in her…Six years later, she is still drug free and we have an amazingly close relationship.

    Not too long ago, I found out that my daughter had quit smoking but kept it a secret until she had made it through her first year. A week ago, I gave her the opportunity to encourage me as I work my way through a 40+ year smoking habit…and I have made it through my first week. Yes, I do feel encouraged!

    So Kenneth, I have no doubt in my mind that you are going to have an awesome road ahead! Sure, you may have some bumps and bruises along the way but it will lead to an amazing life experience and I sure do hope that somewhere on that journey…we’ll get to share a cup of coffee. 🙂

    • Mrs P….awesome story as usual….dude you are full of one great story after another….I hope that I could somehow have coffee and meet with you in person! 🙂

  8. ya there’s enough SADS in the world to bring you down. lol that’s why i hate to read or what a movie that is too sad or too serious. i need some comic relief, something light that will make me smile.

    Encouragement does go a long way, i sometimes find myself making a conscious decision to encourage a friend rather than tell them to suck it up like i really want to.

    • Excellent comments! I totally agree with all you wrote 🙂

    • i totally love how you try to respond to everyone’s comments. Good for you! And you’re one of the few blogs ive come across that doesn’t want to make the rest of us feel inferior in our writing skills. lol there are waaaaaay too many pro writers on the blog world and they use big words and just make me feel dumb. lol.. ok only marginally. But with you i feel, you have your say and that’s it, i dont feel like im listening to intellectual. you’re just one of the guys

  9. Encouragement has a power of life changing. We don’t know what future holds for us, but even the smallest encouragement through the struggling and confusing day, it’s amazing how our moods and life can change. I like to be positive and encourage my friends “You can do it”
    Kenneth ,
    I encourage you to drink every coffee that exists 😃 Cheers to your Drinking Culture Journey!!

  10. FYI, you really should consider adding Austin, Texas to that tour list, especially if you can make it in April/early May. Springtime is glorious here, plus we have breakfast tacos!

    • Ruby,

      The response from Texas in the past week has been overwhelming….I pretty much had my schedule fixed (without texas) but now I’m trying to redo it in order to fit it in….

    • FYI, you want to make that lone stop in the Lone Star state Austin. Ask anyone–this is the place!

    • ok…although other Texans are saying San Antonio and Dallas……..perhaps Texans each have a lot of pride in the particular city they live in?

    • I didn’t grow up in Texas, so I’m unbiased. Obviously, each city has its own particular qualities. I think Dallas is newer, more pretentious. San Antonio has some nice spots and an older, genteel quality to it. Houston is…Houston. Austin is music and funk and alive.

  11. I have enjoyed encouraging (and being encouraged by) you, Kenneth. I look forward to seeing you on your world tour!

  12. Reblogged this on 2l2phant and commented:
    Amen 🙂

  13. The coffee tour sounds like a great time and an adventure. Come to Cleveland…..

  14. Kenneth, I wish you all the very best on your coffee tour!!! I admire what you are about to do! You really are stepping into the unknown, and heck, let’s all admit it, that can be scary! If you have plans on coming to Buffalo, New York, let me know, and I would LOVE to meet with you for a cup of coffee.

    • Buffalo New York might be out of my territory….I’m not 100% sure yet though because there are a number of bloggers and readers in upstate NY that I would love to come meet!

  15. I didn’t see Nashville on your list. I hope you’ll stop by. I’d love to share a cup with you in Downtown Nashville watching the tourists stocking up on Country Music trinkets.

  16. Sadly, there is NO coffee shop, tea room or even neat little café near where I am living at present (can you imagine THAT??) but I wish you a great tour and hope you can connect with some of the thousands now following your blog.I look forward to reading about it .Have fun xx

  17. Bon voyage…and good luck! I hope that you will have many interesting conversations along the way.

  18. Encouragement is empowering! Looking forward to reading about your adventures!

  19. Wow, someone is freaking living life. Good stuff. Can I tag along and be your sidekick? haha.. I wish my company would give me a sabbatical for that long. The only sabbatical I can get is a permanent one.

    • Mr Johnson…..well, that’s why the majority of my 30 trips this year will be weekend trips…I gotta come back to work and make money! lol…..perhaps we could hang out if I make to your area 🙂

    • Ya that making money thing gets in the way of life. If you make it over here I would definitely be up for hanging out.

  20. I always thought I was just born to be a cheerleader (not in the “rah, rah, short skirt” way) and then I found out that it fits my wiring and my spiritual gift. I was a pastor for 20 years and a counselor for 10, and then I worked at Curves (the workout place for women). So yes, I believe in encourageing.

    The interesting thing that I have seen over time is that not everyone wants to be encouraged. They actually resent my optimistic personality. Go figure.

  21. COFFEE tour … lucky bastard! Sighh … Still, I’ll just have to continue on with my own setup, drinking about 5 coffees and day and loving each one. 🙂 You may have even read something of my addiction on my site – or may not, of course. The photo’s pretty damned good, with its colour variation …

  22. Encouragement is so huge. Self-doubt can be a powerful deterrent so there needs to be a way to counter and encouragement is just that. Geez I’m so excited for you. This will be awesome. Have fun!

    • Jen,

      wanna hear something nuts….so I’m sitting here at a café in the airport waiting for my plane to leave and I just spent an hour listening to a story about a women who after her husband died she found herself living in a homeless shelter….dude I couldn’t make this s**t up lol!

    • You’re a magnet for that stuff lol. I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone like that. Well, you must be a good listener and it’s obvious to everyone else so there you have it. Have a good flight! 🙂

  23. Hopefully, whenever you hit up Chicago, I will be able to take a train up and have a chat 🙂

  24. Discouragement: Please do not drink all 100 coffees at your first stop, save some room for others.
    Encouragement: You shoud clone yourself instead of hiring a secretary and let her reply.
    I’m just kiding with my recommendations, whatever fits you Kenneth, I’ll conform and keep reading you.
    Drum bun! or Safe trip!

  25. I really enjoyed this post. I could utterly relate to feeling overwhelmed and depressed by news reports and statistics. I’ve been in real need of encouragement lately, so thanks for providing a drop.

  26. I, too, am a bit jealous of this tour. Kudos to you for having the courage and motivation to do so. I hope you have fun and only have to sleep on an airport floor a few times ^_^

  27. What you’re doing is a big adventure and the pleasure of it will last for the rest of your life. Your writing is superb and I have no doubt that this cross country trip will serve as an inspiration. Good luck. I look forward to reading your discoveries.

  28. Neat idea! I’m glad you saw my post today so I could follow your adventure. 🙂

  29. By the time you see this you will be “on tour”. Encouragement comes in many shapes and sizes. You are one of those to others. Perhaps because you don’t preach, you speak from the head and heart, but first and foremost because you always write and observe as “one of us”. And from some of the comments you respond to I see you get that from a few others writing their words. Speaking from my heart: you have a gift of humanity. That changes and that encourages and that inspires. You have nothing to prove when you blog this tour. You never seem to “prove” anything other than a little humanity goes a long way. You are a magnet for others. Don’t let your gift get in the way of being you. Big hug and sharing your excitement here.

    • Hey Paul, well you’re right…I’m reading your comment as I sit in the terminal in Miami waiting for my next flight. spent an hour at the last airport talking to a woman who had a pretty incredible story…the article will be posted in the morning 🙂

    • Some people are babe magnets. You are just a magnet! 🙂

  30. YAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Have a great trip and have FUN!

  31. Enjoy!! Can’t wait to read your stories about your trip! ^^

  32. It’s easy to criticise and tell someone what’s wrong with their actions, but right or wrong, who are we to judge (anyone). We never truly know a person and what they’re capable of. We never know all the facts behind a person’s actions. We only see, or hear, what that person wishes us to know and then, we may have a different interpretation to every other person around.

    There always a way to say something positive though. One just needs to listen carefully and ‘read between the lines’ (so to speak).

    I don’t think I have ever received any encouragement about any direction I’ve taken (by any of my family) in my whole life……Literally. All I got was criticism. I don’t think any of my family have even said what a great idea it was to take up photography (when I was forced to quit work due to chronic ill health) – that was left to friends to do.

    That’s why I often make a point of being positive when others tell me what their life plans are. I know how much it means……encouragement. Life’s one big adventure and you’ll never ever know, if you don’t start living it. Life’s not a rehearsal.

    It’s not Groundhog Day either – now wasn’t that a great movie with a message for life.

  33. Good luck in your travels. Start writing already.:))

  34. Yours has become one of my favorite blogs to read and, judging by the number of likes and comments, I am not alone. Blessings on your tour!

  35. What an amazing adventure! I wish you all the very best and look forward to reading your updates. Happy, safe travels – Sherri 🙂

  36. Safe travels and all the best Kenneth. It’s going to be a great tour. I can’t wait to read your posts. Btw, you do know that through engagement and encouragement you’re still counseling, don’t you?

  37. I nominated you for The Sunshine Award! I’m not sure what it is but I think your blog deserves a shot of sunnyness. You can link to my site here to find out more.*


    *No obligation whatsoever!


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