There are places in downtown Boise that are currently under re-construction. The spaces in-between the buildings are somewhat tight, so work crews use their resources wisely, bringing innovative ideas to life.

In this case, they built a giant rubber funnel to channel debris into a dumpster safely. This prevents unnecessary damage to nearby structures and passersby.

Depending on the situation, I sometimes suggest to clients: “Ask yourself this question. What is it like to be on the receiving end of me?”

Is what you channel debris, or is it positive, uplifting, constructive, and healing?

“Never underestimate the influence you have on others.” —Laurie Buchanan


59 thoughts on “Influence

  1. Hi Laurie,

    Do my best to make it constructive, and for some people I look a bit too deeply into what can go wrong, in order to create effective risk mitigation strategies; and they get a bit on the anxious side. So it is a fine line I try an walk.
    And some people see a bit of debris in that, and I guess that is inevitable.

  2. I’m sure as humans we all do some of both. I am often surprised when one of my children says, “Remember when you did that or said that? I will never forget it as it made a huge impact on my life.” At the time I didn’t realize the impact I was having on their lives and perhaps should have paid more attention.

  3. I remember that question from your book. “What is it like to be on the receiving end of me?” It hooked me then and still does. It’s similar to another, “watch how we enter a room.” Thanks for the reminder, Laurie.

  4. This is extremely profound, Laurie, and something I’ve never thought about before. I’m going to be aware of it and ensure that I’m channeling everything BUT debris! Thank you for these wise words of wisdom, dear Laurie! Cher xo

  5. I love the inspiration here and it truly made me stop and think. I think (perhaps everyone does) that people are OK with being on the receiving end of me: I hope I spread a good positive vibe and gracious. Sometimes I act a little goofy, like my mother is wont to do. At my age, I hope that is allowed. People sometimes laugh at what I say (just as with Mom) and I guess I like that! Something to ponder some more!

  6. What a great question, Laurie. At work, I have people tell me, “Lois you are so funny. You make me laugh.” I hope that is a good thing. In a world of constant change and downsizing, I think we all need some fun.

  7. Clever seque and question, Laurie, as always!

    Your question prompted a direct question to my house-mate. “When I walk in the door, I sense a ‘favorable aura’ and a ‘fragrant cloud’ appears with a verbal list of your recent doings”

    He failed to mention that sometimes I appear as a black cloud. (Too kind, I guess.)

  8. I’ve been known to channel a little debris from time to time. It might be my hidden cranky old lady coming out to torment the world. I smack down and send her away when I realize what’s going on. 😀

  9. This is one of your best questions and most creative connections, Laurie. Few people would look at a debris channel and ask whether it mirrors their own presence in the world. The question alone makes me more aware, and I am grateful for it.

  10. I have a magnet poster sitting on a shelf above my desk: Be Kind. No Exceptions. I can try my best to be kind, compassionate and mindful, but I can’t control how people perceive my words and actions.

    Now that I’m older than dirt, I’m tired of walking on eggshells. I’ll do my best to be kind, but in order to be authentic, I accept that I’ll always rub some people the wrong way, and that’s life.

    When I was in third grade, a girl from Worcester, MA moved to town. She amused us all by pronouncing the unfathomable name of Lake Char­gogg­a­gogg­man­chaugg­a­gogg­chau­bun­a­gung­a­maugg that lay near her town. The Nipmuc name of that lake, known today as Lake Webster, was said to mean “You fish on your side, I fish on my side, nobody fish in the middle.” While that may seem divisive, it is one way to live peacefully. I’ll fish on my side and be kind to those who pass by.

  11. Laurie, I thought about this all the way to the mailbox and back. What does it feel like to be on the receiving end of me? I suspect the answer is all over the map depending on every person’s consciousness and awareness. Something we can innocently say can send prickles or despair to another person depending on what’s been digested in their unconscious. The next person might respond with love and acceptance. We’re all so often pushing each other’s unprocessed repressed content, no matter how open the sharing.

    Then there’s our own unconscious–gosh, just yesterday someone responded to me in a way that felt unfair. After looking deeply at it for a long time finally realized what they were seeing. Wow! It was never intended that way, but world views can be so different. Even though I initially viewed their sharing as debris, enough detective work brought forth a piece I couldn’t even see. So I believe both positive and debris has its place, although the positive can feel so much better on the surface. Thank you for this exploration, Laurie!

    • Kathy — And if I’m not mistaken, the walk to your mailbox and back is no small undertaking (and it’s probably through snow at this time of year). I’m glad it provided you with the opportunity for an exploration. I love what you shared here. Thank you 🙂

  12. I see the world with very critical vision – I work diligently to make what I see work in a positive direction. This is why I focused on ethics and critical thinking skills because I see the roughness quickly and with training I work to turn it around to a teaching moment and change in thinking and behavior.
    I tried once to be on a medical review board for new treatments and whether they should be human tested. I was not hired but think I would have been brilliant at the work…I loved teaching Developmental Psychology to Nurses and a Workshop called THE ETHICS OF FRIENDSHIP (Communication skills) at the University.

  13. I’ve seen those chutes in action on building sites … it’s quite a sight to see one swaying as debris comes down banging from side to side, and it’s fun to imagine what sort of mythological critter is going to come raging out the end of it. 😀

  14. I’ve been reading a lot about caregiver fatigue or burnout. It is a struggle everyday to keep my words as kind and tender as I would like, patience is not my strong suit. On our recent trip across country, my daughter gave me a taste of how harsh critical words can be, I was seeing myself in the mirror. It was enlightening to be sure. I’ve paid more attention to my attitude and words since then but am a long way from where I want to be.

  15. Definitely depends on the mood . I’d like to think I’m approachable and give positive advice to my fellow beings, but in truth I’m sometimes trying to boost my own wellbeing however the action is never wasted , because hopefully the good side of me has reflection .

  16. A brilliant query. Like others I sometimes an diverted or fall off the track, but I do maintain a positive outlook and try to offer construct advice. I’d like to think most of the time it is a winning proposition.

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