Back when I was working as doctor, I would often hear encouraging words of gratitude from my patients. Nearly every day, I'd have the opportunity to see tangible evidence that I was making a difference. Now that I'm a blogger, author, and speaker, I'm no longer getting the the prompt feedback I'd grown accustomed to receiving.

The lack of immediate response often leads me to question the significance, quality, and quantity of what I do. I was recently going through a time such as this when a former patient of mine sent me the following message on Facebook.  

Sometimes we can be quite selfish without realizing that we are. For quite awhile I was very frustrated with you for leaving your practice. When I first met you, you didn't know it but I was there to see who this doctor was that that had saved my husband's life. When my husband was seeing our previous physician, I begged him to find another doctor who would listen to him. He found you and within weeks I could see all the bad coming undone. He was losing weight, he wasn't falling asleep as soon as he sat down and he had so much more energy. I will forever be grateful to you for that.  

I am learning a lot about all you've gone through and how much you are helping others with what you're doing now. You're still healing people. You're just using words in your new position in life.  

Your post about OCD kind of touched a nerve with me. You described things that I do. I constantly have lists and I have an abnormal need for organization. It's mostly been confined to my work life but within the past few years, it is pushing into my home life.

Thank you seems inadequate for what you've done for us but "Thank you!" Please keep writing... you're still healing people!

These simple yet timely words were both calming and encouraging for me. They also reminded me of a couple truths that I needed to hear and ones I wanted to share with you. 

1. Never underestimate the significance of what You do

We all have our own ideas on what our lives should look like or what our role in this world should be. But I believe that many times this ends up looking much different than what we had planned or envisioned. We shouldn't always see this as an indication that what we are doing is wrong or that its time to change direction. It's just time to look more closely at how we can use our gifts or our current "job" for a specific purpose.

2. Always remember the power of encouragement

We all have a tendency to spend our time and energy focusing on ourselves so we fail to recognize when others are going through a hard time. Or we notice but don't take the time to act upon it. Maybe that's because we think we can't make a difference, or couldn't do or say anything that matters 

But this is simply not true. A simple word or act of encouragement is powerful and can impact the life of the one you're helping. Don't ever forget this!