Two of the things I loved most about living in Minneapolis were having constant access to the wonderful programming of Minnesota Public Radio and to the medical services of Dr. Loie Lenarz.

Dr. Lenarz was the first woman doctor I’d ever had and I actually looked forward to my appointments with her. One day I walked in and she was grinning. “I heard your interview on Public Radio,” she said. “I really enjoyed it.”

Several days earlier I had been interviewed about an self-employment on my favorite radio station. The interview had gone very well and at the end the producer told me I’d received more calls than any guest in the history of that show.

I had never really given Dr. Lenarz any details about my work, but she was curious. Throughout my exam we talked about making a living without a job.

When I went back six months later, Dr. Lenarz was in the midst of my checkup when she dropped a bomb. “I’m going to be leaving the clinic,” she said, “and filling in at other clinics around the area.”

“What?” I exclaimed. “You’re the best doctor I’ve ever had. How can you leave me?”

“Well,” she calmly replied,  “someone whose opinion I value highly, pointed out the advantages of creating a more flexible schedule.”

How could I argue with that?

I happened to remember this story about Dr.Lenarz today because I had my yearly physical with my new delightful doctor. I even told the story to Dr. Goff, pointing out that I meant it as a warning that she must not give up her practice.

Then I came home from that appointment and read the new post from Christine Kane and thought I was seeing a connection.

In her article, How to Become an Extreme Encourager and Change the World, she tells this story:

Long ago, when I first shared my dream of becoming a professional musician with one of my friends, she knitted her brows and said, “Huh?”

The dire warnings she fired off didn’t surprise me. Hey, most of us have had a lifetime filled with this kind of “practical advice.”  And I was used to giving up in the face of it.

During this fumbling stumbling time, I met a man who became an unlikely best friend and mentor.  He was a brilliant jazz musician as well as a self-employed computer programmer.

One night, I told him my dream.  Without even blinking, he said, “Honey (he always called me Honey), you’d be fabulous. That’s perfect!”  And he meant it.

After reading her story, I realized that we can encourage others to live their best life directly, as Christine’s mentor did. Or we can encourage others by relentlessly living our own best life.

Either way, you never know who’s listening.

3 Responses to “You Never Know Who’s Listening”

  1. Becky Nielsen

    Barbara,

    You’re so right. I really appreciate the posts that you offer. I don’t often comment, but I do sometimes pass your things along when they especially fit situations in my current awareness.

    I write two small blogs that often go without any comments or maybe just a couple. And yet, sometimes, I hear from someone who never comments about how important some of those posts have been.

  2. Renee

    I love this, and live this advice about being an encourager. There have been too many dream-squashers in my life, so I try extra hard not to squash the dreams of others when they share them with me.

  3. Jane Snell Copes

    I’m not sure, but I THINK that hearing that MPR interview led me (or drove me) to taking your Open U class in Minneapolis in 2003 or 2004. A happy memory! Jane

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