Encouragement: The Power of the Shout Out


One of the most powerful methods of encouragement is the shout out! Never underestimate the power you have to make someone else’s day and give them an extra boost. 

Updated post!

One of the most powerful methods of encouragement is the shout out! Never underestimate the power you have to make someone else's day and give them an extra boost. @suzlyfe http://suzlyfe.com/encouragement-the-power-of-the-shout-out-motivation/

This past weekend, I let one of my clients down. I didn’t trust my intuition (aka I wasn’t sure that it was him) and as a result, I didn’t accost him with a shout out as he entered the pain cave portion of his race. 

Shameful. I of all people know how important the shout out is. 

Encouragement and The Power of the Shout Out

Who doesn’t love a good shout out, right? Shout out to your mama, your brother, the people who wrote the film, the Academy, sure, why not a shout out to Jesus (regardless of your status of belief, you know that it happens).  But I’m not talking about acceptance speech shout outs, though they certainly qualify. Motivation can come from anyone, anything, and at any time. I want to talk about something a bit more innocent. The “you’re killing it” or even the “I know you” or the “I like your pants” shout out.

new old navy floral pant suz

Side story: Alex once told a nurse or fellow med student (when he was in med school) that he really liked her pashmina and it basically made her die and then come back to life. Then she said, “you obviously have a girlfriend.” I’ve trained the boy well.

Recognition. We all seek it in various ways.

A huge part of living is seeking recognition, and a huge part of confidence and satisfaction regardless of circumstances is knowing that you don’t need recognition to consider your job well done.

Still, there is something so uplifting about having your name mentioned in a positive way. To know that your efforts and time here on Earth are not wasted on others. That someone has noticed you (hopefully for positive reasons). One could say that at the heart of the shout out is a sort of egotism and competitiveness—the fact that you are selected above all others. But, again, let’s focus on the power of the shout out in a positive light.

As I mentioned in my Ragnar post, at the start of my first leg I heard “Omg! That’s my coach!” and it made.my.day. I had been so nervous about my foot and about my ability to run the entire thing that hearing those words just took me out of my body and mind for a second and then set me firmly back in the moment, thereby allowing me just to run. And run for the pure and natural good of it.

Running Happy.

Running Happy.

How many times have you been “shouted out” in a race from some random person and it totally revolutionized your experience? That’s why I love it when they put your name on your bib. When I ran my first Team Challenge race, I was registered as Susan, and hey kept calling out GO SUSAN! And I kept wanting to say THAT’S NOT MY NAME. I’ve made sure that the bibs have said “Susie” ever since! I want to know that you are yelling at MMEEEEEEEE.

I hope that they know that this is what happens when I volunteer...

I hope that they know that this is what happens when I volunteer…

PS, if you’ve never been cheered on by Marcia, Emily, and Erica during the Chicago Marathon, go sign up for it right now just so that you can have the experience.

So if you are ever questioning whether or not to pick out that random person in the crowd and say YOU GO GLEN COCO. Well, you go, Glen Coco. Shout that out. Bonus points if you know them, but let’s be honest, even being acknowledged by a stranger feels gooooooood. So go on: take it upon yourself to make someone’s day with a little motivation in the form of a shout out. 

Matthew McConaughey Oscar Acceptance Speech

Give an unexpected boost today with a shout out! #inspiration #justdoit #fitfluential Click To Tweet

When was a time that someone gave you an unexpected shout out that totally rocked your world?

Make a point to give someone an unexpected shout out today! Shout out in the comments!

I am linking up with myself, Rachel, Lora, and Debbie for Running Coaches CornerPatty, Erika, and Marcia for Tuesdays on the Run, Nicole, Annmarie, Michelle, and Jen for Wild Workout Wednesday, and Ilka and Angela for Food and Fitness Sunday. 

  1. Whenever I run the Disney marathon, I always forget that my name is printed on my bib. So, all these random people in the crowd will say “Good job, Stacie” or something along those lines and it freaks me out at first because I’m all “are you psychic? How do you know my name??” And then I remember my name is on my bib and feel like an idiot.
    Stacie @ SimplySouthernStacie recently posted…WIAW: Greenville EatsMy Profile

  2. This is great! We don’t do this enough. I’m definitely going to try to step back from wanting to RECEIVE shout outs and go toward wanting to GIVE them. BUTTTT on the receiving side: during my first marathon at mile 25, a group of bikers passed me, and I heard one say, “Oh my gosh, she looked so HAPPY.” I know it wasn’t a direct shout out, more of a secret one, but it still made me beam 🙂
    MK recently posted…Blessings and CursesMy Profile

    • ooooooo love that–any sort of recognition in that positive way. You were killing it at running happy 😀

    • Exactly–nail on the head-> performing, but for a positive, no-returns expected reason!

  3. As a nurse practitioner, I get a lot of shout outs from patients who are happy with the care they receive from me. I also get a lot of abuse (thankfully not as much) from parents as well. Sigh. Funny how the bad always outweighs the good. And then there’s the blog, when random strangers reach out to me to tell me how a particular post has inspired them…it feels so good and makes it all worthwhile, doesn’t it?
    Wendy@Taking the Long Way Home recently posted…FortitudeMy Profile

    • Ooof I know that you get a lot of abuse from patients, but I also know that those patients who go out of their way to say thank you are unforgettable.

    • I’m all about positivity and uplifting people. I don’t have time for coaches and trainers who sit there and bludgeon their clients/trainees in order to get them to perform. We are just like dogs–give us a pat on the head!

  4. For my first marathon in Philly, our bibs had our name on them. At mile 24 someone screamed “keep going Jamie I know you can do this” and I got the biggest push. Little did that person know I was on the verge of walking. But I didn’t want to slow down and walk because I felt like I’d be letting them down so I kept going!! Happy Wednesday! : )
    Jamie recently posted…WIAW – Rosie’s New CaananMy Profile

    • OMG how much did you want to hug that person and never let them go? (after finishing, of course). That is fantastic.

  5. SO true. I was thinking about that during my race on Sunday. Since it was an out and back, we were all able to cheer for each other as we passed (well, since I couldn’t breath I wasn’t doing much cheering while running, but was able to cheer on others as they finished after I was done). But it was awesome to have people cheering me on, especially when they started saying I was the second female. That definitely gave me the push I needed to keep going.

    • I love it. While running during Ragnar, everyone was amazing about telling each other good job or keep it up as we were going. I thought that was amazing. And at the end of my last leg, one lady was hurting, but she told me to go and get it, and that was awesome!

  6. Name are SO IMPORTANT. Whenever I give my name to the good people of Starbucks I always tell them, “It’s Suzy: S-U-Z-Y” because my name is important to me and I am important enough to be spelled correctly. And so is everyone else! As a parent we are supposed to do this tiring thing where we commend our kids when they do something good more than reprimand them for doing something wrong. Because positive affirmation goes a loooooong way, way longer than feeling negative. So it’s just part of my make-up now, to give shout-outs to everyone around me. I once told this lady, a random mom in Katie’s swimming class, that she had the most amazing ass I had ever seen. Trust me, it was unreal. But she wasn’t a showy-offy ass person, she was totally humble. Was it awks for a bit there? Fo sho. But worth it to make her day.
    Suzy recently posted…Woozy Wednesday: We Are FamilyMy Profile

    • Girl, I feel you, on everything. And a nice ass is a nice ass–and you probably made her year by telling her that.
      BTW, nice ass.

    • hahahahaha I’ve had that happen too–and that moment when it dawns on you, you are like #facepalm

  7. This is so true! Words are so powerful, especially an unexpected compliment. I feel like it’s so rare these days, so it really means a lot! I love it when I’m running and a passing runner/walker/biker yells out encouragement or says that I look fast..really helps motivate. This weekend, I went to an event in my area (Pilates Fest) and the girl checking everyone in recognized me from my blog and said that she loved reading it. This was the first time it happened and it really impacted me and made me feel special, useful and important. I have to start making changes to be more encouraging of others and not hold my tongue when I want to say something..it could make their day like it makes mine!
    Gretchen | Gretchruns recently posted…Wednesday Reviews : PopSugar Must Have Box {June}My Profile

    • The first time that someone knows who you are through your blog is such a landmark moment! Seriously, it changes you and stops you in your tracks!

  8. You never know when someone is just dying for a little encouragement. Sometimes something as small as giving them a little personalized cheer is all it takes to totally make their day. I try to just think of everyone that way.. even if they aren’t begging for attention, a little recognition can go a looonnnng way
    Maddie @ Dixie Runs recently posted…First Marathon – Conservative or Aggressive?My Profile

  9. Yep! We all need encouragement from time to time! My dad comes out to all my half marathon and meets me at several points along the course just to give me a shout out! I’ll tell you as soon as I hear/see him I get a huge burst if energy and it makes me so happy. You’re right, everyone wants to be acknowledged. It’s not egotistical it’s just human. Oh also good to know NOT to call you Susan!!! Not that I ever have but now I def won’t 🙂
    Jill recently posted…Natural Therapy: Patapsco Valley State ParkMy Profile

    • Hahaha. The Susan thing more so than anything confuses me–I just have no idea who you are talking to.

  10. Hi Suz! Yay for positivity. My love language is “words of affirmation” so I appreciate the shout-out more than anything! That’s so cool you felt the love during Ragnar. I try to take the time to do authentic shout-outs to people in my group fitness classes as well, because it always gets them to work harder. Great thoughts here, so glad you wrote about this!
    Ashley @ A Lady Goes West recently posted…BlogFest 2015 and “What I Ate Wednesday”My Profile

    • Thank you, Ashley! I think that you also hit it with the authenticity–genuine recognition and love.

    • Awwwww. Now that is fantastic. Especially since you are bouncing around right now, it is so awesome to have that recognition. YOU GO BETH COCO

  11. Side story: Alex once told a nurse or fellow med student (when he was in med school) that he really liked her pashmina and it basically made her die and then come back to life. Then she said, “you obviously have a girlfriend.” I’ve trained the boy well. <- hahaha, that's wonderful!

    To date, my favorite and best shoutout was from my favorite professor/physician of all time. (I took pretty much every course he taught while I was in undergrad. #notastalker) In one of em', he used me as an example in his lecture to talk about how I was awesome because I lifted weights and was combatting osteoporosis/osteopenia/sarcopenia! :D! I was pretty much glowing for the rest of the day. I wish I had a recording of that lecture! *-*
    Farrah recently posted…The Fit Dish InterviewMy Profile

    • OMG I would totally be glowing. Like crazy.
      And you know that Alex saying that to that girl would make her melt 😀

  12. When I ran Boston in 2013 I was stoked to hear my name almost the entire 26. 2 miles (the crowds are amazing) then I realized that I ran the entire 26.2 mile with another girl named Lisa right next to me.. huh… oh well. ha! Anyway, I just got a shout out from my friend. I watch her daughter on Tuesday’s and Friday’s while she works… I offered to do this all summer long and she tried to pay me! ha! Never! She’s a sweetheart and I know how grateful she is. It really is a motivator for me. Everyone needs acknowledgment.
    Lisa @ RunWiki recently posted…DIY Homemade All Natural- No Sugar Added Electrolyte Sports DrinkMy Profile

    • Awwwww that is great. And hey, we will take our acknowledgement however we can get it, right? Plus, they get a two-fer for calling out Lisa!

  13. Love this! I love when random people give me a compliment or cheer me on, so I try to do the same. You can tell it totally makes people happy to hear any feedback, even if it’s “nice running shirt!” or something like that 🙂
    Kristen recently posted…Race Recap: Alaska Run For WomenMy Profile

    • Or if you are wearing the same shirt, and you get to be all, I like your shirt! It just shows that you are paying attention and that you noticed them.

  14. Love. This. And really? How much effort does it take? Ummmm, zero. Zero effort and you totally make someone’s day. 🙂 That’s good stuff.

    • Amen. There are few other things in this world that have such an incredible return on your investment. MAKE MY DAY

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  16. So true. There’s something really magical about a shout out. Even if you’re doing terrible or doing good, an extra boost/recognition instantly bolsters self confidence.

  17. At my last marathon (the one we did together in in Atlanta, March 2014) as we started up Piedmont Road, I heard someone in the crowd of runners yell out ” Hey, CLARE, it’s great to see you!”
    This was Nick, one of my fellow TeamChallenge teammates from three years before. I had on my TeamChallenge singlet and he saw that…..and he saw me. THAT was a wonderful moment for me. I knew that this was probably my last race event, I hadn’t seen Nick in 3 years, but he saw me and recognized me. That was a shout out that has stayed with me.
    Two years ago, at the Cabo, Mexico Ironman, as Eric and I sat on the curb to watch the marathon runners, I saw a TeamChallenge singlet run by. I just yelled out “Go, TeamChallenge!” When I emailed Michael later to tell him that I’d seen him run by, he said he heard those words “Go, TeamChallenge” and he went!!

  18. Oh yeah totally! This is all so true! We all need to be seen and heard. It feels so good, so validating, it gives us purpose and motivation to keep moving forward. Words of affirmation are my love language, and so this idea is particular significant to me. <3

  19. Some guy once told me after a race that my strong kick at the finish inspired him to push and finish faster and it’s still one of my favorite compliments :). I’m pretty shy but should definitely make an effort to give more shout outs, it really can make someone’s day!

  20. So true, those race day shout outs are powerful! We all have the need to be encouraged, this is a great reminder to try to be the encourager more often.

  21. I swear, sometimes shout outs are the only thing that keep us alive! Strength from others and we need more of it. Always. SO GET ON WITH YOUR BAD SELF! LOL! YEAAAA! I’m cheering!

  22. YOU BEST BELIEVE I AM A SHOUT OUT GIRL. I am a cheerleader for all those who are trying their best to achieve the best they possibly can! I just took on a client to help him lose weight and I told him, I AM YOUR BIGGEST CHEERLEADER!!! DO NOT forget that !

  23. This is SO true!! A shoutput can mean everything in a race. I had my name on the back of my shirt during the NYC Marathon and everytime someone called my name I had the biggest smile on my face!

  24. LOVE THIS! Actually, one of my all time favorite things to do during my fitness class is to shout out words of encouragement. ESPECIALLY to new people. I’m just like, ” You got this!” and “What’s 10 more seconds?” or “Awesome form!” because I know how empowering positive words are, especially for people who think they are currently dying and are hating life.

  25. It really does give you a lift… and I started doing it on my last race giving shout-outs to the runners I crossed going the other way on the out and backs. I found that it goes the other way too… gives you a little boost by giving the shout-out!

  26. I love those race day shout outs!!! I always cheer for people during a race whether I know them or not because I know how it feels when you run by a quiet crowd and all you need is a little inspiration to keep going.