Our daily walks with Willa, our dog, include a long stretch of sidewalk in the Warm Springs historic district of Boise. In front of several of the old mansions, the sidewalk is scattered with multiple leaf imprints.
Due to the COVID-19 shelter-at-home mandate, I’ve had the opportunity to experience more than the usual number of phone and Zoom connections. Regardless, at the end of each conversation, I stop and reflect on the exchange of words, tone, and delivery style—and I find myself wondering:
– What kind of impression did I make—was it positive, uplifting, constructive, and healing? – What’s it like to be on the receiving end of me?
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
When we walk out our driveway and turn right on the sidewalk, we pass over a small stream. The other day we noticed an addition. Someone had affixed a pair of googly eyes to the rail.
I love to people watch. But I have to remember, it works in reverse, too. No matter where we go or what we do, a good portion of the time we’re being watched.
In my first book, Note to Self: A Seven-Step Path to Gratitude and Growth, I wrote, “Never underestimate the influence you have on others.” As a grandma-in-waiting (will September never get here?!) I’m aware that a little pair of eyes will be on me; my granddaughter will be in my sphere of influence.
During our most recent trip to Montana, we were gifted with seeing several herds of elk. Watching the large herds move in harmony brought to mind their innate sense of community.
I belong to several communities—family, friends, writing, online, coaching, health and wellness—to name but a few.
The communities we belong to have vital qualities including experiential knowledge, resources, teamwork, strength, influence, service, engagement, connection, emotional support (upliftment), inspiration, and solutions.
To which community did you most recently contribute?
On Mondays, we drop Willa off at The Lodge for day camp. One afternoon when I arrived to pick her up, the sun was at just the right angle, allowing me to capture the sign’s shadow on the wall.
Just as every object casts a shadow, every person casts a shadow—both physically and figuratively:
Physically, our silhouette against a lighter background.
Figuratively, our influence.
Our figurative shadow (influence) falls on those around us. Our words and actions affect those in our sphere of influence. In Note to Self: A Seven-Step Path to Gratitude and Growth I wrote, “Never underestimate the influence you have on others.”
The world is a really big place, but I make a difference and so do you. Each of us—whether we want to, or not—leave an impression.
The deciduous leaves have all but disappeared in our neck of the woods. And while this leaf impressed me because of it’s tremendous size…
…this leaf, though much smaller, left a longer lasting impression.
My goal is to leave the slightest footprint on the planet, while at the same time making a lasting impression on its inhabitants—one that is positive, uplifting, constructive, and healing.”
“People who strive for something significant, whether it’s learning a new craft or raising moral children, are far happier than those who don’t have strong dreams or aspirations,” says psychologist Ed Diener. “As humans, we actually require a sense of meaning to thrive.”
Have you defined the impression you want to leave?
On a recent walk through our neighborhood, I noticed a newly-planted tree featured in the center of a raised garden, circled by rough-hewn landscaping stones.
Aesthetically appealing, it brought to mind how each of us — like the tree — has a sphere of influence; people — similar to the colorful flowers — whose lives we influence whether we intend to, or not.
It might be an active influence (what we say, things we do, places we go), or it might be passive (what’s left unsaid, what’s left undone). Either way, it has an impact.
“Never underestimate the influence you have on others.” — Laurie Buchanan
I keep a little handwritten post-it-note on my desk that says: Never underestimate the influence you have on others. This serves as an important reminder that people are affected by me. They’re affected by you, too.
In thinking about our individual lives, they can be likened to the hub of a wheel that has many spokes—each spoke leading to a person in our sphere of influence; each person affected in some way (positive or not-so-positive) by what we think, say, and do (or fail to do); each person affected by our personal energy signature.
As a child, sibling, parent, neighbor, coworker, partner, spouse, etc., you know what it’s like to be on the receiving end of other people.
It is my personal belief that each of us has an undeniable responsibility to our self and the rest of the world to be our personal best – to put our best foot forward – on any given day. The ripple effect is far too-reaching to do otherwise. I have a client who has determined her purpose to “Be Extraordinary.” She says, “Being extraordinary is not being a ‘bigger’ person. It’s a soul-based life that keeps Spirit in the driver’s seat. It’s waking up in the morning and saying, ‘Thy will be done through me.’”
The culmination of our life experience—how we spend or invest our life—is our legacy. It is my perspective that a legacy is not about leaving a sum of money behind. Rather, it’s about our contribution. Whether we’re a global citizen like Mother Teresa, or a local citizen, our legacy is permanent and has lasting impact. Intended or not, as individuals we influence others. Our actions and inactions; the words we say or leave unsaid, each have an effect—positive or negative—on others.
If Divine Love is our compass, our legacy will reflect inner wealth. It will be evidenced by health, peace of mind, joy, gratitude, contentment, quality relationships, loving what we do, emotional fulfillment, integrity, the list goes on. We may not be wealthy, but our life will indeed be rich. And our legacy will be one of true and lasting value. Have you thought about what your legacy will be; what you will be remembered for?