Within the circles I travel lately, I see a wanting repeatedly raising its head. Sometimes it looks like a gopher nervously popping up out of its hole, looking around quickly, and just as quickly disappearing into its hole. Sometimes it looks like a parched and disheveled traveler lost in the desert searching for a long ago promised oasis. And, sometimes, it looks like a young child at an amusement park. One moment jumping up and down for joy, her blonde bobbed hair just eeking over the line telling her she is big enough to go on the ride! The next moment, looking wide-eyed, panicky, and wishing she was anywhere else.
The wanting is to have more impact. The wanting is to make a bigger difference. The wanting is to live a life that matters in a big way.
It makes me optimistic about our future. I’d be even more optimistic if I saw more of us choosing to live the impact we are wanting. Some of us continue to choose the comfort of the gopher hole, safe and warm. Some of us choose the comfort of solitude where our egos can’t be bruised by the idea that someone else may have a better way forward. And, some of us get wildly excited once we find external validation, by its nature unsustainable in giving us what we need to move forward.
So, what is it that we need to help us move from wanting to living the impact that remains outside our grasp? The Native American Lakota people teach us about the Ten Sticks of Happiness. We’ll take a look at the First Stick here:
“I am learning that I am the most unique and special manifestation of creation.”
Our journey begins with each of us walking a path paved with the unique gifts that make up who we are.
As we come to understand, be with, and love ourselves as “the most unique and special manifestation of creation,” we liberate ourselves from the shackles of comfort zones that don’t serve us, discover that big impact is more important to us than being right, and learn that external validation is like an addiction enslaving us to our own insecurities.
Rick Tamlyn, creator of The Bigger Game, teaches that traditional thinking is often wrong when it comes to creating the impact we want to have. Believing that who we are is enough, finding the courage to leave certain comfort zones behind, and leaving our egos at the door, are not qualities we must first muster before we can act.
“As soon as I find the courage I will….” “As soon I get one more certification I will be able to….” “I’ve got to figure out how to be a better team player before I….” Sound familiar?? Tamlyn argues that the process actually works in reverse. It is by taking “Bold Action” that our courage, our willingness to work with others, our believing that we are enough, our whatever it is we think we need to become first begins to show up. We become the person we need to be by taking action.
The key that gets us through the door is giving ourselves permission to get clear on what exactly is the impact we want to have, right here, right now. What does it look like? How does it feel?
Try this. Flash forward…. You’ve had the impact you’ve wanted…. You are being honored by a certain group, organization, or community at a special dinner or gathering…. What is the speaker saying about you and the difference you have made in the lives of others?... How are you feeling?... What are the looks on the faces of the people in attendance telling you? Bask for a while…. Take it all in…. Breathe deeply.
Returning to now…. take the key in your hand and open the door to the impact you just saw on those faces…. Don’t just think about it…. Stand up…. Walk over to the door, unlock it, and open it…. What do you see?... What does it feel like to be looking into what’s there?
Now take one step forward… away from the wanting… into the doing…. What are doing?... Who are you becoming?
Howard Stanten is a CTI trained Leadership and Small Business Coach
Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org