You are making an Impact…

… the question is, is it a positive or a negative one?

Everyday we make choices. We decide to smile at the barista at Starbucks, or avoid eye contact. We decide to say please, thank you, excuse me, or to hold open a door for someone. We decide to be rude. We decide to be short. We decide to let our good or bad day, affect the people around us.

Have you ever woken up a little grumpy and before you know it, your husband and your kids are grumpy too? Did they start that way? Did you perhaps influence your entire house? Maybe. Maybe not. But I bet if you woke up with a smile and a pep in your step- even if they were grumpy- you’d be setting the tone for that small, insignificant positive change in your kitchen over the coffee pot. It’s much more difficult to be grumpy to someone who is alternatively quite smitten with their morning. Right?

We make an impact on others. Every second, of everyday!

Nope, not just on ourselves- other people too! I know, it’s crazy! So if you’re living in the ‘I’m just having a bad day, leave me alone’ world… chances are that you’re not just influencing your own mood with that kind of attitude.

Sorry to break it to you, but it’s absolutely unavoidable! So now that you know this, you know that you can CHOOSE to influence your world and the people in it positively instead of negatively. And it gets worse: Typically, if you don’t choose to be a positive influence, your scaredy cat brain will default to the negative for you- because that’s just what most of us do. Unless we CHOOSE otherwise! So because I believe that if you CAN make a difference, you must… I want to share some insight with you about what I learned this weekend.

I attend a wonderful church in the Carson Valley called Life Point and I was given the opportunity to attend a one day women’s conference called ImpactWoman! If we’re being honest here- and we always are- I signed up because one of the gals in my small group came to hear me speak at an event and I agreed to come to see her speak at this event.

Sidebar: I haven’t been so consistent with the whole going to church on Sundays thing- NOT because I don’t love me some Jesus- but because I travel a whole bunch and I’ve just plain not been around! So I hadn’t yet signed up for this thing because a) I hadn’t been around the good ol’ church much to hear about it and b) I already know that I am a woman who makes an impact.

Yes, I thought that very thought! #gag

But give me a chance to explain! I know that as a leader of a business, I have influence. I know that as a leader of a team of people growing their businesses, I have the power to inspire. I know this. I act on this daily. It’s actually one of the biggest reasons I’ve decided to embark on this blog adventure. As a matter of fact, I so enjoy this part of my journey, that I’ve embraced each and every opportunity to grow personally, step on stage to speak, share my thoughts on soundcloud.com, etc!

I also know I’m a mom. I know I’m a sister. I’m a friend. I’m a wife. You can’t help but influence people when you’re in a relationship with them, so to beat a dead horse: I know I’m making an impact with what I’m doing.

The part that makes me gag is that school is NEVER out for the pro! How dare I think I’ve learned all there is to know! How dare I rest on the progress I’ve made, and not work towards an even higher level of understanding my impact and influence! Shame on me!

Needless to say, I was in the audience for about eight minutes before God slapped me in the face with some much needed perspective! And boy do I love gaining perspective!

First of all, the beautiful pastor at the front of the room (can you believe this big, great, impactful woman sat meekly at the back of the room?) started to share some well received views about how woman are commonly insecure. We talk down to ourselves. We ‘not enough’ ourselves. We compare ourselves. We struggle with our own self worth. We wonder how much we deserve. And worst of all, we do the same to our female friends!!! Gross!

And here I was thinking “Well, I don’t do that!”

1) I’m sitting at the back of the room, by myself, for fear of having to talk to a stranger… so there’s that.

2) But yes, for the most part, I don’t do that… ANYMORE!

I have been so very blessed over the past almost seven years in the business and in the culture I’m involved in to have gone through MASSIVE personal growth. So thankfully, I can honestly say, for the MOST part, I know how to talk to myself in a positive, supportive, serving way (Note: MOST of the time- I’m certainly a work in progress).

But it became so very clear to me that the great majority of the women around me were still very much living that life of self conscious desperation! Trying to fit in, to be good enough, to be skinny enough, smart enough, sexy enough, just enough!

Perspective one: Tooooooooo many of us- especially women- think this way and need not!

Perspective two: Those of us who are coming out of this way of treating ourselves, MUST empower others to do the same!!

Perspective three: If you’re not talking very nicely to yourself, how on earth would you expect to talk nicely to someone else?? Luckily we would NEVER say the things to our friends that we say to ourselves- but seriously, what does that say about us????

This all leads to the question: Why do we even do this to begin with? And how do we stop, or help others to start to love exactly who they are?

Well the why is pretty simple… when you’re in a seminar where the why is so clearly being brought to your attention.

F.E.A.R.

“Fear kills more dreams than failure ever will.” -Bill Hybles

Man, isn’t that just the dang truth? We allow fear of pretty much everything to OWN us! We let it control us! And if you’re wondering if YOUR negative self talk is stemming from fear, I challenge you to get to the root of it!

For example: If you’ve always had long hair and you’re hesitant to cut it, I bet it’s because you’re struggling with the FEAR that you’ll hate it, or that others will hate it, or that it will make your face look rounder, or that you’ll regret it, or that you might not be taken as seriously, or be as feminine… No? Just me? I mean it’s hair! We all know it grows back for crying out loud! We’re probably not telling ourselves that we’re going to be the sexiest thing ever with our new do! We’re going to turn heads! We’re going to inspire someone else to get our very same haircut because it’s so dang cute! NO! We don’t serve ourselves in that way! We tend to fear just the POTENTIALLY negative things!

For goodness sakes, let’s stop that already!

When we’re trapped in that place of being fearful, we absolutely can not make an impact with our lives- certainly not in the way God intends us to. And I’m not just talking about haircuts here people…

Here is another, more important example of how we’re HOLDING OURSELVES BACK FROM OUR GREATNESS: If you’re nervous (read: fearful) about what people will think of you if you really go for x, y or z… you’re never going to step out in faith in a big way, which means you may never discover what you’re truly passionate about.

Or, if you’re worried (read: fearful) about the outcome of going against the grain or doing something you’ve never done before, you’re probably going to think about ALLLLLLLLLL the reasons why you maybe shouldn’t take the leap of faith because of ALLLLLLL the things that MIGHT go wrong… instead of ALLLLLLLLL the amazing things that are LIKELY to come of YOU being brave, like oh- I don’t know, realizing your God given gifts! Or changing the course of your life! Or changing the course of LOTS of lives!

So how do you overcome all this craziness?

Well, start by questioning your fear! Is anything really life threatening about to happen to you? Are you about to die? Are you about to seriously harm yourself? Or are you just about to become mildly uncomfortable for a very short period of time?

And also, for goodness sake, start being the brave friend who SUPPORTS your friends brave moments, instead of being a nay-sayer or dream stealer or bringer-downer! Empower your friends/kids/parents by telling them they CAN do it! They WILL be great! They SHOULD take the road less traveled if they’re feeling drawn! Take the risk! Why the heck not? Certainly encouraging them to stay in their unsatisfying, unfulfilled, stressful situation (should that be the case) isn’t any better, right?

Encourage boldness always! Encourage the ones you love… always!

How would you feel if you  knew someone you loved didn’t follow their heart because of what they thought YOU would think about them? My goodness, wouldn’t that just really make you question some things? I can only pray the people I love ALWAYS feel bolder and braver BECAUSE of me and know that I will always have their backs! Isn’t that the point?

So if you find yourself talking down about someone’s moment of stepping out in faith to be a better version of themselves, check yourself! For one, I’m willing to bet you’re only thinking that because you fear the very things they’re embracing. And secondly, if you let yourself, you might just be inspired by their moment of fearlessness to do something bigger for yourself too! Because although you may or may not be affecting them with your negativity and gross gossip, you’re certainly affecting yourself with it. You’re making an impact, and it isn’t a good one. It’s ugly. So knock it off already!

LIFE IS SHORT YOU GUYS! Don’t find yourself at the end of the road going “Man I wish I would have!!!” Give your future self a serious high five and shout “I’m so proud of you for going for it!” And then turn to your future friends, who you cheered on, and tell them you’re proud of them too!

Perspective four: Fear doesn’t go away. There is no waiting it out. So give up the staring contest and DECIDE to power THROUGH your fear. Believe you me, I’m afraid ALL the time. I battle this battle everyday! But in my gaining of perspective, I’ve realized that the battle is easily won- and worth fighting!

And let’s be real… maybe just telling someone that you’re afraid is enough to let them know that they are not alone in THEIR fear. And that might just be impactful enough.

So the moral of this crazy story is STOP BEING A FRAID-Y CAT! Don’t let fear hold you back anymore! And once you realize that fear is driving so much of your negativity and yucky self talk, you’ll be able to let that go too! And once you do that… once you kick fears butt and DECIDE to be a positive light in your life and in the lives of others…

Holy moly, friends, that’s when you’ll really be able to see the incredible impact you’re making.

That’s precisely when you’ll fly!

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