Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Spheres of influence and other orbits

Darkness lingers in the morning later and later. Winter hides around the corner, yet, for today, the temperature will remain higher than normal. Last week's snow has melted. Autumn leaves litter the ground. The world continues to turn.

Long ago I tried to to demonstrate orbital paths of the planets to my youngest daughter. I picked up a grapefruit in one hand and an orange in the other. "This is the earth," I said, holding the orange up high in my right hand. "And this is the sun," I said placing the grapefruit a couple of feet away in my left hand. And then, I began to rotate the grapefruit around the orange which I held steady in my right hand.

"Uh, mum," my eldest daughter quickly interjected. "The earth revolves around the sun. The sun never moves."

"Ooops," I laughed, quickly reversing the rotational process. "You're right."

Sometimes, I don't get everything right. Sometimes, I make mistakes. (Just ask my daughters!)

Making mistakes is not the end of the world, though, had Alexis not corrected my orbital disaster-in-the-making it might have put an end to her sister's passing grade in Science that year. Making mistakes is human. It's part of learning. If I do everything perfectly, then I'm not learning how to do it, I'm simply doing it.

Yesterday I started working on my recap of the event I helped organize from last week. I had met with the Exec. Dir. and administrator to discuss the event earlier in the morning. Seven pages later I had a series of recommendations for next year that will ensure the event is more successful than this year's. It's part of learning -- not necessarily from mistakes, but from what went well and looking at ways to turn it into something even better.

That's hard. I'd like to think the event was perfect -- it wasn't! We didn't raise as much as we'd hoped. There were weaknesses in the format.

I know the weaknesses. I can see them, yet, so often, it's easier to just become defensive. To block out criticism and entrench myself in, "What do they know,"

"What do they know," thinking does not get me more of what I want in my life. It does not make me a more competent, empowered and effective human being. It doesn't reflect my greatness. It only speaks to my potential to think small.

Something I am learning to embrace is the fact that no one has all the answers -- even if they tell me they do. We each have a portion of the answers, parts of the equation, segments of the total picture as perceived from our vantage point, our perspective, the sum of which I determine in my own life. It's up to me to create the value from the world around me.

Like the earth revolving around the sun. Every day brings night. Every night leads to morning. There is nothing I can do to change the earth's orbit -- even with an orange and a grapefruit. There is tons I can do to effect change in the orbit of my own little world. Tons of different steps I can take today that will create greater value from what I learned, what I did, what I experienced yesterday.

In writing up the recommendations for next year's event, I had to let go of my ego and look at the greater whole. What were we trying to achieve? What is the purpose of the event? Did we reach 100% effectiveness this year? Where did we go off target? Where was the focus of our attention off kilter? Where did we pull out of orbit with the intention of what we were trying to do and careen into another idea floating in someone else's orbital path?

Alexander Graham Bell said, "Concentrate all your thoughts on the task at hand. The sun's rays do not burn until brought to a focus."

To be a better person. To be the best person I can be, I need to focus my thoughts on doing the best I can in every moment. I need to burn through my self-defences, my fears, my self-defeating games, my inhibitions, and let my light shine on the task at hand -- being all that I am meant to be.

Sometimes, I make mistakes. Sometimes, I take my focus off the task at hand and get busy carving a path through someone else's orbit, on someone else's plane of influence believing that if I can effect what they're doing, I'll do what I'm doing better.

It never happens.

To be the best me I can be, I need to keep my focus on what I'm doing and let the distractions, the meteorites of ego-propelled interference pass me by. I need to stay focused on creating a sphere of influence that reflects my purpose and passion. I need to stand in my own light.

The question is: Are you standing in your own light creating a brilliant sphere of influence that is a reflection of the best that you can be?

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