"But I don't do anything special...". How would you respond to this child in your care? How would you respond to this colleague? How would you respond to this friend? Now...I want you to think about how many times you say that phrase...about yourself. Either in your head or out loud. Hmmm...does your response change?
I have heard this phrase (or similar) a lot lately. One of the things that I am passionate about is sharing forward. Over the last year and a half, I have been blessed with meeting and collaborating with the most incredible minds and beautiful hearts. I have grown incredibly because of them. I want others to experience this as well, so I ask them to share their ideas and stories with others. I am often hit with "But I don't do anything special...".
It is interesting to me that no matter who they are...how accomplished they are...regardless of role, title, success or fame...many people have doubt. They question themselves; their purpose and wonder if they are making a difference. Either that or they don't realize their own impact. When people share these things, my response is two fold. On the one hand, I try to guide them in changing their perspective. To see themselves as I see them, because I do see their "special". The second thing is to make sure that they never stop questioning themselves. Well, that seems counter intuitive, right? But hear me out. To me, one of the best qualities of a leader is humility. Although I want others to see their own "great", I also don't want that to over take them. It is the humbleness that makes them great. It is what makes them self reflect, challenge their own ideas and seek to grow. If someone loses that humbleness, that someone loses their effectiveness to connect with others and create change.
So when someone shares with me that they don't think they are doing anything different, or they don't see their impact...I ask them to zoom out for two reasons:
1) Birds of a feather: It is in our nature to gravitate to those who are like minded. This is very powerful, because we are social beings. We need others. We grow with others. We stretch with others. But what also happens is, when we spend so much time with like minded individuals, we tend to forget that not all think and do the same. When this happens, we start to believe "I'm not doing anything different than everyone else", because we start to see our "everyone" as those in our circle. So I ask them to zoom out, and start to look at a wider sampling. By doing this, the hope is that their is a change in perspective about themselves. That they see they ARE doing things differently. After that realization, it is up to the individual to grapple with that and use that information, forward.
2) See the forest beyond the trees: It is hard to keep going when we don't see the impact of our actions. It is also hard to see our impact when we are in the middle of it. So many of the highly influential people I know; shockingly do not realize their reach...their impact on others. This can cause frustration at times, especially when the going gets tough. But when one can zoom out and really take a look, the hope is that they can see the truth clearly. That everything they say and do impacts others, and those others will impact others and so on...there is a ripple effect. We all have the potential for great power...but with power comes great responsibility. So it is important to check our reach, to keep us in line with our own purpose as we move forward and continue our impact.
My call to action is this: Take some time to look at yourself from a different perspective. My friends Jon Corippo and David Culberhouse often talk about looking from the 30,000 foot view of organizations. But let's use the same idea when we are reflecting on ourselves. Change your perspective and it will change you.
Mother, teacher, TOSA, GCE Level 1 & 2, Encourager of others.
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