Is This What You Do When No One’s Watching?
World Tour Update: Our rental car just landed us in the rather-deserted mountain village of Bansko, Bulgaria to catch up on work and writing before our next LYL event in Sofia in a few days. Judging by the donkey I just saw pulling a buggy filled with a farmer and his crops, I think we’ve chosen the right place.
The above picture was taken on a trail run this morning, and it’s very possible those furry guys had a hand in the home-bottled yogurt we had for breakfast a couple hours later. Either way, this shepherd and his colleagues inspired today’s article.
Here’s what I challenge you to think about a little each day…
Someone’s always watching you.
Whether you know it or not, people are paying attention. The way you act today, influences how you’ll act tomorrow. And those actions influence others – whether they know it or not.
The way you show up matters. If you attempt or do something that inspires you, it inspires others to do what inspires them. Passion, drive, dedication, happiness and raw energy are all massively contagious.
But so is complacency. You decide to settle, to give up, to be miserable, frustrated and upset – and do nothing about it, others will too.
Whether you’ve chosen to recognize it yet or not, you’re an example – for you and those around you. Either of how to act or how not to.
In this sense we are all leaders. Every choice we make, big and small, is a chance to lead.
You are either an example of high standards and what’s possible, or another contributor to the complacency.
Remembering this unavoidable principle has always helped make decisions quite clear for me. If your actions (or inactions) aren’t something you’d want those you love to take, then they probably aren’t what you’d want for yourself.
And it doesn’t always have to be some grand act.
Even when you feel helpless or lost in the uncertainty of what’s next, there’s always something we know we can do. We can decide to help someone else who’s worse off. Whether that’s opening a door, lending an idea or just stepping out of our own story long enough to hear theirs.
When we spread that kindness and compassion, it infuses the same in the person you’re helping. And here’s the real magic – it does the same for anyone else who happens to be watching! And that feeling effects how they act – how they choose to lead or not lead. And so on. Quickly you start to see how important your leadership is.
And as we help others move forward, even in the smallest of ways, it builds confidence for ourselves. And that confidence compounds into the rest of what we do. It starts to make our own big and scary things not seem so impossible anymore.
You working towards what you care about not only builds the habit for yourself – it gives that same permission to others. Before long you become known as the kind of person who doesn’t settle. And that feels really good. So you continue to act in a way that’s consistent with that identity.
It starts so small and seemingly insignificant – with the tiny decisions we get to make all the time.
You pursuing the work you can’t not do today, makes you a lot more likely to pursue it tomorrow. And as others notice, it enables them to do the same.
It’s like the shepherd I can see holding his wooden staff in the field below my balcony right now…
He doesn’t know I’m watching. But he’s diligently tending to his sheep, doing what he’s good at – the work he has in front of him today. And seeing him so calmly walk his heard along these hilly fields inspires me to sit here and create something. To write and do what I’m here to do for the day. Him doing his thing, makes me want to do more of mine.
That’s what I’ve always seen as our real purpose here – To be our own leaders.
To be our own personal example of what’s possible – however small and subtle those actions might be on a day-to-day basis. They add up. And to be that same example for those around us. For the people you might not realize are watching… because someone always is.
Living your legend isn’t just about selfishly enjoying your work. It’s about what happens to others when you do.
The ripples we’re making travel a lot farther than we think.
Your actions, our actions – are training us and others.
People are watching.
What will they see you do next?