Doing unique things is hard. Any creative venture is hard. Starting a business, getting that business off the ground, writing and marketing a book, establishing yourself as an artist or musician, building that non-profit, getting out of your comfort zone, confronting your fears, changing your job to find fulfillment – all difficult things.
When you are attempting a difficult thing, it is very easy to get discouraged, in the early stages, before your project “tips” and you start experiencing positive momentum. During those (sometimes) discouraging times, the actions of others can have a tremendous effect, for good, on you.
I’ve learned that the inverse is also true –
My actions – the times that I am going outside of my comfort zone, taking risks, being authentic, even smiling, can have a freeing and empowering effect on other people who are wanting a similar experience.
We have much more influence than we realize. I’ve learned this over and over in my life. When we attempt difficult things people watch us. By attempting difficult things – by climbing our own mountains, and overcoming our own fears – we are giving others permission, and inspiring them, to do the same. When you embrace this you quickly realize how important it is to continue.
It is a “pass it along” or “pay it forward” philosophy that we can trigger without even realizing it.
Let me share an experience that illustrates my point.
Several years ago I wasn’t happy in my career, and I was wanting a change. I was practising law but I wasn’t passionate about it. It was discouraging. I looked far and wide for answers, read many books, and attended various seminars trying to figure out how to make an empowering change.
One of the seminars that I attended was Tony Robbins’ Unleash The Power Within, Otherwise known as the “Firewalk Experience”. It was an amazing experience and was the start of my realizing that many of my hurdles to creating a fulfilling life were not external, they were internal – they were stories that I was telling myself to guard against pain.
In the seminar we were frequently encouraged to get up and dance. It was a very uncomfortable experience for me. At the time I hated dancing (I’ve since come to love it), and to dance like a crazy person was extremely unnatural and uncomfortable. I resisted for a good portion of the seminar. Finally I said to myself, “who cares, no one knows me, I’m going to go for it.”. I put a big smile on my face and let loose. Right when I did (unbeknownst to me) the camera zoomed on me, my smiling face, and awkwardly dancing body, and broadcast it on a big screen to five thousand seminar participants.
Later that day, during a break, a lady came up to me. She was a stranger. She gave me a hug, and got teary. She said that she was terrified to let loose, and that seeing me dance and the smile on my face, when she looked at the screen, gave her the encouragement, and permission, to do the same, and as a result the last couple hours have been tremendous for her in terms of her own self-realization of how her “stories in her head” have been preventing her from living a fulfilling life.
You never know what your influence is going to be. But I can say, with confidence, from personal experience, that when you liberate yourself, not only do you reap the benefits of increased confidence, self-empowerment, and courage, but you also give others the permission to do the same, and by so doing you empower them to live an authentic, and fulfilling life, as well.
We need each other. Even the most independent among us (and I consider myself highly independent) is positively influenced by the courage, innovation, risk taking, creativity, and even smile, of another.