They were having a discussion about political slogans this morning on NPR. Apparently, presidential candidates have been using them for decades. Not all of them were effective nor memorable.

Whether we realize it or not, most of us have a collection of slogans that are stored in our brains. Like its cousin the mantra, a slogan regularly resurfaces and repeats itself.

Many of these have been with us since childhood and were more of a warning than a guide to living a great life. Money doesn’t grow on trees. If you can’t do it perfectly, don’t bother doing it.

I’m guessing you have a list of your own family favorites.

Slogans, mottos, mantras are incredibly powerful when repeated. They can stop us dead in our tracks or propel us forward.

My office has favorites displayed all over the room. Above the door is a large sign reading, “There’s no such thing as small change.”

Another favorite reminder from John Ruskin says, “We are not sent into this world to do anything into which we cannot put our hearts.” On the bulletin board over my desk is this challenge: do something today that your future self will thank you for.

When I was going through some boxes in my office closet, I came across a list that I’d created for a seminar. It’s really a collection of some of my favorite quotes and I urged participants to borrow one or several and make it their personal motto.

I offer you the same challenge.

Happy are those who dream dreams and are willing to pay the price to make them come true. ~ Cardinal Suenens

We dream ourselves into being. ~ Ray Bradbury

Being in business is not about making money. It’s a way to become who you are. ~ Paul Hawken

When it’s over, I want to say: all my life I was a bride married to amazement. ~ Mary Oliver

All the arts we practice are apprenticeship. The big art is out life. ~ M.C. Richards

Life is too short for you to be the caretaker of the wrong details. ~ Alexandra Stoddard

Be with those who help your being. ~ Rumi

I make the most of all that comes and the least of all that goes. ~ Sara Teasdale

Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage. ~ Anais Nin

It is better to err on the side of daring than on the side of caution. ~ Alvin Toffler

Success means living the life of the heart. ~ Francis Ford Coppola

What we need is more people who specialize in the impossible. ~ Theodore Roethke

Fortune is not on the side of the faint-hearted. ~ Sophocles

In the quest for happiness, partial solutions don’t work. ~ Mihaly Czikzentmihalyi

Only those who risk going too far can possibly find out how far to go. ~ T.S. Eliot

We are all pilgrims on the same journey, but some pilgrims have better road maps. ~ Nelson DeMille

Somebody has to do something and it’s just incredibly pathetic that it has to be us. ~ Jerry Garcia

I don’t want to be saved. I want to be spent. ~ Fritz Perls

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.