The greatest freedom we have and the one many people give up is the freedom of choice. You have the freedom to choose who you want to be and how you want to impact the world.  Whether or not you intentionally exercise that freedom of choice, you impact the world around you.

What is your impact?

Is it positive? Do you leave things better than when you found them? Do you even care?

More specifically, what is your impact on the people around you?

I encourage people to take an inventory of all the roles they play in life.  For example: I’m a dad, son, brother, uncle, grandson, cousin, friend, employee, trusted adviser, etc.  You get the point.  What is your expectation for yourself in each role? How do you want to show up?  What impact do you want to have?  Most importantly, are you meeting your expectations? If not, what needs to change?

If you’ve read “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People” you may recall the Emotional Bank Account.  It’s a brilliantly awesome concept for managing your relationships. Simply, your relationship with someone is like a bank account where you make deposits and take withdrawals.  When you do something positive that is a deposit.  When you do something negative that is a withdrawal. Like your bank account, the more deposits you make the more value and reserves you build up.  The bigger the positives, the bigger the deposit.  The bigger the negative, the bigger the withdrawal.  You want to build as much value and reserves as possible.  This means you care.  Where people get into trouble is the take too many withdrawals, forcing the account into the RED. This isn’t good.

Just be cool and make deposits!

Another analogy I like to use is: The Lantern & The Lamp

Let’s start with the lamp.

Lamps are valuable as they shine light wherever they stand. Lamps help people see clearer and allow them to maneuver in the darkest places. However, a lamp’s impact is limited. Many lamps stand in one place and do not move. They stay in one position, and therefore only shine light in one place. You have to come to the lamp, and many times they are only valuable if you are beneath them.

How about the lantern?

Though they serve the same purpose, the lantern’s opportunity to impact is much greater, which makes it more valuable.

For starters the lantern is mobile.  Wherever it goes, its light benefits everyone around it. It isn’t designed to stand above people or stay in one place.  It will go wherever light is needed.  It can be hung high or sit low, which gives it the ability to provide light from different perspectives.  It’s designed to go beside you. Its handle is its offer to help; just grab it!

Are you more like the lamp or the lantern?

Do you stay in one place and only shine your light on those who stand beneath you?  Or does your light shine everywhere you go, impacting everyone around you?

I like the lantern.

The unfortunate reality is many people aren’t even aware they possess this light and have no clue of their potential to positively impact people and the world around them. Maybe it’s with their spirit or attitude or passion. For some reason many people don’t allow this light to shine.

That’s a tragedy!

Take some time and think about all the roles you play in your life and the expectations you have in those roles.  What does your Emotional Bank Account look like in each role?  Are you making deposits or taking withdrawals? What if you were a lantern and allowed your spirit, attitude, and passion to confidently shine on everyone around you?  Think about the impact you would have on them.

Think about the impact this would have on you!

Shine!

Does the idea of interviewing for a new job put you on edge or scare the living daylights out of you?: How to Shine in a Job Interview

Featured photo credit: Decorative red metal lantern with a heart cutout lit by a glowing candle with copyspace for Valentines or Christmas via Shutterstock

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