This question has come up often during recent conversations with friends and coach colleagues. Whether you are in the helping field or not, know that everyone can make a difference at the level they are. We probably won’t have the impact of a Gandhi or a Mandela, but we certainly have an impact on the people around us.
I would like to share this parable to illustrate this point.
A young man is taking a walk on the beach and, in the distance, he sees what he thinks are black dots scattered all over the beach, as well as the silhouette of an old woman.
She bends down, then goes to the edge of the water, and there throws something into the sea; then, she retraces her steps, bends down again, picks something up, then return to throw it into the sea.
As he approaches, he realizes that the beach is filled with starfishes the tide left behind. Hundreds of starfishes are dying on the beach, and the old lady picks them up one after another, goes to the edge of the water and throws them into the sea. The young man, struck by the immensity of the task, said to her: “God knows why you do this! Why do you go through all this trouble? You will never manage to save enough to make a difference.” The old lady throws yet another star in the sea and shouts in the wind: “It makes a difference for this one!
Are you like this young man who, struck by the immensity of the task, is discouraged before even starting?
Or are you like this woman who believes in doing her part and doing her best no matter what?
At the end of your life, if you can say someone’s life changed because of your meeting, then your presence made a difference for this person. If everyone can impact just one person and that person impacts another one, imagine the chain of transformation that we can create. And this chain, when it reaches a critical mass, will be able to change the world. But even if you do not have the ambition to change the world, you can still impact the lives of people around you.
We are talking about impacting people and not changing them. It is futile to want to change anyone. The only person you can change is yourself. By freeing yourself of limiting conditioning and healing your wounds, you change yourself, or rather you express more of your true essence.
But oftentimes people hide behind excuses like: “I am nobody.”, “What can I possibly contribute to others?” By doing this they are devaluing themselves and they are not seeing their true value.
Marianne Williamson said:
Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be?
Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do.
And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.
You are unique. You have unique gifts and talents to share with the world. Be who you are. Recognize your value. Every single person that walks on their path will shine a light. And this light will touch others. There is nothing else to do than be who you are.