You Make a Difference
Can you agree that each of us possesses huge (untapped) capacity to actively direct the course of our individual and collective lives?
If you’re doubtful, just look at how one person can significantly alter global events. Think Gandhi. Think Guttenberg – inventor of the printing press – or Edison. Now, some of you may be thinking we can’t all invent light bulbs! That’s true. Then again, maybe not all of us were cut out to.
What we are responsible for is to fully embrace our unique power. Unfortunately, many of us allow the “what I do can’t possibly matter” mindset to silently creep into our daily thinking. How many of you believe your election ballet counts? How soon would a park look and smell different if every visitor left behind a piece of garbage? What if every employee in every company stole office supplies? How soon would the results show up on your personal salary through reduced pay hikes?
See what I mean? Notice how often you conclude your actions don’t matter while overlooking your impact. Yet in these examples, isn’t each of us ‘just’ one person? For now, can you at least allow that you absolutely affect your immediate circles? I’ve heard it said this way: “To one person in the world, you are the world.”
Meet Your “Gremlin”
So, what’s going on to cause us to spend so little time acknowledging the difference we make? Bet you’re giving yourself some nasty self-talk on the order of “How dare I brag about myself?” or “Who do you think you are?” Am I right? I suspect so – regrettably.
In coaching, Gremlin is the name given to this negative inner voice that robs us of our glory. Do you recognize yours? We all have one. And, the Gremlin uses exactly the right tone and words to put us in our place. Where did it come from, you wonder? Originally, many of us received well-intentioned messages from teachers, parents and other authority figures discouraging us from boasting and other “inappropriate” behaviours. When we didn’t have the right information, we didn’t know how to separate such unhelpful scripts from the useful advice.
Today, we own the power of conscious choice. If we let it, this task-master would weaken us with self-created smallness twenty-four hours a day. That means it’s up to us to purposefully shut off the ‘tap’ on the Gremlin’s endless ‘drip’.
The Top Ten List
This month’s Top Ten list offers five Do’s and five Don’ts to strongly counter-act the voice of your harsh critic:
- Do stand proudly in your individuality.
- Do examine your belief systems about your “power of one”.
- Do itemize whose lives you impact.
- Do specify how you make a difference in their worlds.
- Do name 25 ways you’re unique.
- Don’t shy away from your greatness.
- Don’t internalize others’ messages.
- Don’t stop yourself in your tracks!
- Don’t abdicate responsibility for your part on planet Earth.
- Don’t believe the world would be the same without you.
As a “bonus” to help you reclaim your splendour, here’s an exercise from my coaching studies that involves writing a life purpose statement on this model: “I am the…that has others…” To fill in the blanks, my statement reads: “I am the reflecting pool that has others bask in their brilliance and reclaim their inner truth.”
Just like the vision statements you see defined at work, this is what my purpose means to me – and by extension to others:
- Reflecting pool – by gazing into ‘my’ pool, you see reflected back your true essence
- Bask – giving yourself the right to relish how ‘x-ceptional’ you really are
- Brilliance – suggests great brightness, sparkling, radiant qualities
- Reclaim – as in, taking back what was yours in the first place
- Inner truth – your truth about what’s right by you and nobody else
I share my statement to illustrate my commitment to all of you. I so want you to ‘get’ the brilliance that is yours alone. Breathe in how wonderful you are! There has never been – and never will be again – anyone quite like you. Can you imagine that?