You matter. You’re important. You make a difference.
Not only do you matter in your own life, but you have a huge circle of influence. You matter in the lives of others. You’re important as a friend, an ally and an example. You’re an influencer.
It may sound unbelievable, but at any given time we may have influence on thousands of people around us. We can choose to be a force for good, bringing more positivity and light into the world, or we can choose to spread negativity.
Don’t believe we can make a difference thousands in lives each day?
This point was proven in recent weight gain and loss studies, which showed our eating habits not only affect our friends, but our friends-friends and THEIR friends. If you tend to choose healthy food, those around you will too (the same works in reverse). If you order a salad, your friend will follow your lead. When they go out with their friend, they’ll make a healthy choice, and so on.
This circle of influence effects not only our diet, but our feelings, emotions, outlook and interactions.
What happens when you experience a bad day at work? Say your boss was being a “real jerk.” You come home, you’re crabby with your spouse. He or she, is in turn, short on patience and cranky toward the kids. The kids start arguing with each other, maybe their friends. Along comes the dog looking for pets and attention. Your kid turns to him and says, “stop begging! Go lie down!” and poor Fido skulks away.
Now, Fido didn’t do anything wrong at all. In fact, he’s being his normal doggie-self, but because of your circle of influence, your boss’s comments trickled down to the poor dog.
What do you project into the world each day? When you go out, are you taking a stand for nourishment and self-care? Are you actively helping others, sharing with others and being a model of positive influence?
You see, modeling and practicing behaviors is how we get better at them, ultimately making a difference. When we deliberately practice, whether it’s a skill or talent we’re hoping to develop or our outlook, we’re solidifying the concepts. We’re adding them to our muscle memory. We must practice engaging and positive influence.
It’s not about being all “sunshine and roses” all the time. It’s about being genuine, real and listening. It’s about seeing others for who they truly are, assuming good intentions and holding them in positive regard. More importantly it’s about seeing yourself in the same light.
You deserve to feel comforted, soothed, acknowledged and affirmed. You deserve to hear you’re doing a great job, even if it comes from your own mouth as you look in the mirror.
We all need affirmation. As kids maybe we learned it was wrong to ask for more. We learned we shouldn’t brag. We should hold in our feelings. We should be positive and amicable, but we shouldn’t actively seek to meet our needs and yearnings.
I want you to let that idea go. I want you to go out there and become a force for good! I want you to feel affirmed. To affirm those around you, to become a positive influencer, an ally and a warrior for engagement.
If you go forth and influence others positively it will literally create a ripple effect in their life as well as your own. I think we all agree the world needs more nourishment right now. We see frightening stories in the news. We feel bombarded by pressure at work, at home. The world is often a tough place.
That’s why nourishment is your secret anecdote.
You see, none of us come from a background where we felt perfectly nourished and cared for all the time. Some of us experienced childhoods lacking in affirmation, care, and even basic needs. These experiences cause us to experience limiting beliefs, or beliefs that hold us back.
Limiting beliefs might be ideas like, “I’m too much,” or “’I’m not enough.” They might be ideas about our feelings, “it’s wrong to get emotional,” or “I take things too personally.” They may lead us to believe, “it’s selfish to take care of my own needs,” or “I should try to please others rather than focusing on what I want.”
Our limited beliefs hold us back from engaging, going forth and seizing what we want. They lie to us and tell us we don’t deserve nourishment and affirmation. They stop us from taking care of ourselves. They keep us from being our own friend and ally.
Transformers, those who exude positive influence, are excellent at up-regulating their moods. The term up-regulating refers to the ability to “snap out of it,” to “flip your mood.”
Think about how you feel when someone pays you a compliment. Don’t you just feel like, “Ah!” a warm glow? Now, everywhere you go, you may not run into adoring fans who fawn over you and compliment you left and right. (But wouldn’t it be nice?)
You can still get that warm glow by learning how to up-regulate and care for yourself. You can learn to give yourself the nourishment you need. You can silence your limiting beliefs that say it’s not okay for you to seek compliments, to feel proud of a job well done or to spend extra time looking and feeling your best.
The best part is, you can share this anecdote with those around you! Since you have a huge circle of influence, you can become the center of a ripple effect. Engage with others. Listen. See them in the here and now, in positive regard. Connect.
It sounds simple, but how many of us really engage? How many of us talk about topics that don’t matter? We pass by each other with polite comments about the weather and the temperature. How many times do we really listen when we ask someone how they are?
In fact, it’s often shocking to us when someone answers the question truthfully. We’re so used to hearing, “fine, and you?” we don’t even bat an eye at the question.
What would we do if someone said, “Actually, I’m really happy because I just figured out a problem at work I’ve been mulling over for the last few days,” or “You know, I’m feeling a little apprehensive right now because I’m about to attend a luncheon where I’m addressing a crowd?”
We might think, “Sheesh, I wasn’t expecting all that!” But then we would end up responding, listening, ENGAGING.
A true answer opens the door for engagement. It opens the door to start a conversation. It opens the door for compassion, for listening, and for making a difference in someone else’s day. Rather than disengaging, talking about the weather or the room temperature, flip it the next time someone asks. You don’t need to wax on or dominate the conversation, but answer honestly.
How are you really?
Find opportunities to ask for your needs to be met and meet the needs of others. See them for who they really are and become a positive influencer.
The effect you have on your world could be greater than you realize. You CAN make a difference. Let’s all work to become allies and forces for good to those around us. Invite someone to open up about their feelings. Ask them to attend a More Life session or another event here at the Wright Foundation. Share an article with them. Admire something beautiful together.
If we all work to become positive influencers, we can make a difference in our world. YOU can make a difference in so many lives.
Join me for more information about how you can engage with others, live a life of more purpose, and truly make a difference in your world at the Wright Foundation.
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The Wright Foundation for the Realization of Human Potential is a leadership institute located in Chicago, Illinois. Wright Foundation performative learning programs are integrated into the curriculum at Wright Graduate University.