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.
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.”
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.