I'm thinking a little bit more about my friend's words regarding investment and payoff, especially how difficult it can be when the payoffs are delayed. I'm realizing that when the going gets tough, anything one can do to grease the rails of progress is helpful (within the limits of moral behavior, that is). No advantage should be wasted, if possible. Encouragement is especially vital. I wrote some things on my old blog about just how vital encouragement is, and today I'm working on a plan to bolster my encouragement-factor.
I'm fortunate to have really great friends, some of whom I get to see in person and some of whom I keep in contact with online. I've received a lot of encouragement over the years from my lovely group of friends, and I've bookmarked some of it and saved scraps in text files and kept bits here and there. But I don't see it regularly, scattered across the internet and in the odd corners of my computer. I don't get reminded of how many people love and believe in me, and silly me, I tend to forget. I can too easily let my brain squirrel itself away in worry and fussing over my perceived inadequicies, which doesn't do any good for anyone.
I'm going to go looking for my scattered pieces of encouragement. I'm going to gather them all up and put them in one place -- first in a document on my computer, and then on an e-book I can load on my Kindle and iPad. I'm going to make my own personal encouragment book, that I can refer to as often as I need to. It won't replace live, regular encouragement by any means. But I hope it will be a useful tool to help me keep going through the hard patches, when I find it hard to believe in myself.