Encouragement and motivation are two actions that can be both given and received. The nice thing about this perspective is that whichever end you are on, the rewards are great and the results positive. While it is entirely possible to encourage and motivate yourself, receiving them from another source can have even greater power upon your being. When this occurs, it is like a validation or stamp of approval from that source that you can do it--you are on the right track.
In "The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People," Stephen Covey points out a perspective about motivation that you may not have thought of, that only unsatisfied needs motivate. When you help encourage and motivate someone to accomplish a goal or dream he seeks to achieve, you have given him a form of validation in themselves to go for it. Covey says that if the person already has achieved something, it is difficult, if not impossible, for you to encourage him because his needs/goals have already been fulfilled.
In "The 8th Habit," Stephen Covey says, "Duty, love and meaning are the highest sources of human motivation and will always produce the greatest and most enduring achievements." This motivation comes by empowering you to become more involved in the process of leadership, whether it is of your own life or your job. He gives the example of a group of janitors who were encouraged to take a more active part in the decision making of their daily job duties. By empowering them, their motivation to perform better increased dramatically. Not only were they motivated to take more pride in their job, but their personal satisfaction also vastly improved.
You understand that another person can motivate and encourage you through her words and actions, which show her belief in you. Motivating yourself may be a bit harder. Covey says in "The 8th Habit" that personal motivation is one of the essential elements of what he calls "emotional intelligence." To create personal motivation, you have to begin with the end in mind. In other words, you must decide what you want accomplished by the end of your life. You decide what your priorities, values and goals are. It is your decision and motivation, not another person's.
Motivation Through Inspiration
When it comes to you being able to motivate and encourage others, Dr. Wayne Dyer says this can be accomplished in different ways. In his book, "Inspiration: Your Ultimate Calling," he says your inspiration via your generosity, listening, kindness, gratitude, living passionately, and acting and living with truth can all or individually motivate and encourage another person to confidently move forward to go after his own dreams and goals. This can create a cycle of more motivation via inspiration as the person you affected positively will continue the cycle with the next person and so on.
It is an intuitive understanding that you have about encouragement and motivation--if you give it, you will receive it, like the old adages, "If you teach you will learn," "Do unto others as you want done unto you." It is virtually impossible to give someone else encouragement and motivation, and not have it come back to you in some way, shape or form. True motivation and encouragement are very empowering, allowing you to move forward confidently to achieve that which you desire.