The Christmas season is here and to me, that signals the start of traditions. Train rides, Christmas tree farms, tree decorating, beers, and of course, It’s a Wonderful Life. I have probably watched the film twenty plus times in my life. Each year it evokes emotions and warms the heart. Even Meesh has started to choke up:)
It was funny though – even after years of watching it – something really stuck this year. I will come back to what this was in a moment.
I am in a lucky position – I have the time, energy, and resources to make a positive impact on this world. But how to do it?
Two lessons I learned earlier this year may hold the answer…
1) If you choose to write or share something, make sure you are doing it for yourself. If you are writing for someone else, it will never last. If you write for yourself the candle light won’t flicker. This insight came from blogger Maria Popova (Brain pickings).
2) In today’s world of mass media, social media, and the dream of large scale disruption, it’s easy to get discouraged. Who says we need 5000 followers? How about influencing the people closest to you? How about starting with your wife, your child, your friends? Or striking a conversation with the cash teller? Or influencing your co-worker by actively listening to their story, writing a card to a friend, or inspiring a child by choosing time over an item? This insight came from one of my favourite thought leaders – Seth Godin. I tell people about it regularly:)
When our aim is to influence a huge number of people, there are far too many excuses to not take action. When we ask ourselves how we can influence the smallest number of people, we can’t hide.
It’s a Wonderful Life tells this lesson beautifully. George becomes discouraged because he has not done something “grand.” What he doesn’t realize, is that on countless occasions he has made a difference to the people that matter most.
I think that is a lesson I can live by. In 2017, I will continue to ask myself two questions. One: am I sharing a story that I love? Two: How can I make a difference to those closest to me – at home, at work, at the grocery store, on the squash court – every day?
Who will you influence this year?