Owning the Influence We Have

In the flurry of things we’re constantly trying to remove from our daily checklist, it’s easy to lose sight of what’s been accomplished. There’s always more to do, so, more often than not, we’re on to the next thing that must be tackled. But just for a moment, I want you to take a breath and reflect upon something you’ve accomplished that makes you feel proud of yourself. What occurs to you when you think about this question?


The sorts of successes I have in mind when I say this are occurrences that would not have happened had you not stepped up to the plate—whether it’s encouraging your child to do what’s right instead of what’s easy, helping a friend brainstorm through a difficult scenario, or carving out some regular quiet time just for you. Give yourself credit for the actions you take! Re-booters recognize that our efforts matter, and it’s imperative that we respect this about ourselves. In a world where there are always more demands and new standards to meet, many of us can feel lost in the ever rising tide. I know far too many people (myself included, at times) who fear that treading water is the most they’ll be able to manage, considering the pace and demands of our frenetic culture, but this mindset requires that we turn a blind eye to all that we have achieved. By my bet, you’ve done a lot more this year that you’re willing to acknowledge. Take a few minutes to review what you’ve achieved since January.


A folly many adults fall into consists of believing that life happens to them instead of valuing the active role they play in what unfolds. While there is much that occurs outside of our influence, life is not a passive experience. Landing that new job or extracting yourself from a toxic relationship or encouraging someone you care about to step outside their comfort zone—each of these examples mandate action on your part in order to effect change. Your endeavors are key to what happens—own the influence you have.


These days, when life changes so quickly and there is much to worry about and undertake, evaluating our progress can be difficult to gauge. Further, the sorts of advances Re-booters are truly interested in can’t be measured according to bank book balances or job titles or other outside markers. Instead, they are defined by our level of serenity or self-confidence or ability to handle awkward or distressing interactions with diplomacy, compassion, self-restraint, and courage.


What has been a recent worrying situation that you’ve approached from a more collected point of view?


As I go about my re-booting process, confronting multiple obstacles and repeated disappointment in my job search and other cobwebby corners of my life, I have made some significant progress in how I handle certain challenging scenarios. Much of this required me to revise certain philosophical perspectives and expectations I have clung to with the ferocity of a lion. Shifting away from an emphasis on how I measure up to my peers to a more individual assessment of my needs, strengths, and challenges has been enormously difficult for me. In fact, I struggle with this on a daily basis, but I know this new path is better for me—as foggy as it is, I am better off.


Giving myself credit for such Great Leaps Forward gives me strength to remain positive in the face of much hardship. I’ve had the opportunity to develop a storehouse of quiet self-confidence at a time when so much has felt out of my control and beyond my ability to shift. It’s odd, isn’t it, that one of the best ways to cultivate a certain quality is when we are faced with circumstances that would seem to drain us of whatever few teaspoons of that quality we had in us.


What I mean by this is that despite the fact so many doors appear to be firmly shut, I’ve shored up my belief in myself instead of watching it ebb away. Another example of a “growth opportunity” has presented itself from a seeming lack of control of circumstances is that I’ve had to be diligent in cultivating patience and self-restraint in situations where I was merely a bystander. I had to coach myself to keep my mouth shut and stay out of a mess that was not of my making. As a result, I’ve learned to be more judicious and moderate in what I did or said—practicing restraint at a time when I felt powerless, resulted in an increase in both my potency and my effectiveness. Two examples of empowering results I would never have expected considering how ineffective I felt. Has it been hard? Yes. Has it required a lot of me? You bet. Am I a better, improved version of myself? Definitely.


Does any of what I am saying make sense?


Re-booting comes in a variety of forms, most of which we’d never imagine as a method of instruction for us to receive such powerful, personal tools. But opportunities abound, that’s what makes re-booters different from everyone else: we’re aware and striving to grasp them as they present themselves. That, my friends, is worth a little self-praise.


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One Response to “Owning the Influence We Have”

  1. grasshopper Says:

    well said!

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