A Happy Easter and Passover to all. These two holidays commemorate the influence of people acting in the world with divine inspiration, and this article is about how you do that, too.
You already have more influence in the world than you think you do.
This fact was made so clear to me last week-end in hanging out with my two daughters. My youngest, tween daughter wanted my help in setting up her blog. You can see it here. She also decided to design and order her own business cards. And she loves to bake. As I heard so many times in Venezuela, The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.
However, there’s much much more to this ripple effect that the impact you have on your children and family members. Most of the time, you will not hear about this influence you have. Occasionally, you get feedback that reminds you that everything you do does affect the world.
Very shortly after we moved to Charleston last August, I got email from a former student. A student from 2001! She found me on Facebook, or Twitter, and wrote me to share some of what had happened since she was in my class so many years ago.
She told me several things that I had said that had shaped her life. She is now running a successful video production company and has her own little family.
But you know what? As I look back at my own reaction, I am amazed.
As I read what she wrote about what I had said to her so many years ago, quoting me, what first ran through my mind was, Oh my goodness, that was obviously before I got my PhD! I had helped this young woman with two big issues: writing skills and goal setting. She had taken those two skills and run with them!
Goal setting does not exist in the curriculum of doctoral programs about communication. And I’m certainly not suggesting that it should. Fortunately, I didn’t know that before I learned about communication research methodology, rhetorical devices and constructs. So, way back, I used to take one class period and have my students write out their goals for the next year, the next 5 years, and for their lives, even though technically, that was not part of the curriculum. (I just taught editing students how to blog so I guess I’m still not following the official program exactly!)
This student still had that list that she had written in my classroom, 9 years later. She wrote to me that she had almost finished every single item on the list, and was ready to write a new one.
One more example: nearly 2 years ago my friend Sally decided to have lap-band surgery to lose more than 100 pounds. Last summer she started writing about that experience in her blog, and now she is a constant source of inspiration and practical help for a growing tribe of women either going through the same process, or thinking about it.
Isn’t that fun? The exact same thing happens in your life, too. You affect more people in more ways than you realize. If an example comes to mind, please share it by writing a comment below.
The wonderful thing is, that each time you decide to live in a bigger, more authentic way, you give the people in your circle of influence permission and inspiration to do the same.