When you understand why you do what you do, you rarely spend time “in the dark.”
So much for cutting back on travel. If you have been reading my latest emails, you know I have been on the road more than usual. But after this past weekend’s adventure in Texas, I understand not only why I spend time away from home, but also why it leaves me energized when I go from place to place.
This week I visited a number of cities in “The Lone Star State.” Although I was in Texas to present at a big fitness conference and visit some of my Training For Warriors facilities, the trip also turned into a university tour. Because my oldest daughter is only a few years from college, I always make a point to stop at nearby universities in order to get a feel for the size, culture and community of the school’s campus.
A few months ago when I was in Dallas, I visited Texas Christian University. On this trip, I visited Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Baylor University in Waco and then finished the tour at the University of Texas in Austin. Each school had its unique history, colors, mascot, stadiums, statues and buildings on campus. Each bookstore was filled with gear and I left with a memento from each for the kids. At one of the schools, however, I also left with an important message that would be a misused if I kept it just to myself.
To know where you are going, you often need someone to “light the way.”
When I got to the bookstore at Baylor with only minutes to spare before closing, I asked the woman behind the counter if there were any good photo opportunities in walking distance. She told me I had to check out the “Baylor Lights.” After getting directions and a map, I made my way to the center of campus and took a photo while standing within in the word “lights” (you can see the photo at the top of this email.) The Baylor campus was really impressive and I decided to walk around and see more. As I wandered, I found two other photo spots using the words “Baylor” and “bright.” After I took those photos, I became more aware of a number of references to “Baylor lights shine bright” on signs around campus. Because I was unfamiliar with the slogan and wanted to learn more, I looked it up.
Last spring at Baylor, the administration launched a new campaign. They lit up a number of sections of the campus and the president of the university delivered the new Baylor slogan, “Where Lights Shine Bright.” This slogan is based on the idea that each and every Baylor student has been given the opportunity to be a light in the darkness. Since the announcement, the theme has been placed around campus and used by the athletes, students and teachers. The slogan wasn’t just a photo-op for Instagram; there was a bigger message that each person could be a light to celebrate the brilliance of others.
When each day begins, there is first darkness before the light.
Baylor launched the idea because they hadn’t shined as brightly over the previous few years. But whether the sun is shining on you or not, there is always some darkness to be found. Each day you are faced with the news of political battles, economic challenges, war, natural disasters, loss of human rights, cyber attacks and dangers of terrorism or crime at home. The gloom of health issues and environmental concerns are at an all-time high while the shimmer of security and self-esteem may be at an all-time low.
People’s lights, as a result of the constant exposure to the dark, are shining less brightly.
You can be overwhelmed by the negative if you let it. The constant barrage of bad news can create both stress and fear. If you focus on it enough, the darkness can appear everywhere and always be seeming to close in. The darker it gets, the easier it’s to lose your way. When you can’t see, it’s easier to stay put and do nothing but complain. In the dark, it’s easier to focus on problems. And when you aren’t looking for life’s glowing signs of greatness, it’s easier to point out other people’s mistakes. The dark eventually makes it easier for the positive events that occur everyday to go unnoticed.
The only way out from the dark is to turn on the lights.
As a presenter, I believe it is my responsibility to shine a light in the darkness. The darkness cannot overtake the light when enough people shine bright enough. In every speech, post, video or email, I try to shine bright and ignite a spark in someone else. Years ago, I may have thought helping everyone else weakened me, but now I know it makes me stronger. As James Keller said, “A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle.”
At the IDEA event in Dallas, I realized people come to see me because they have either lost their way on the road to success or want me to help make something more visible to them. Maybe it is a drill they need or a skill they didn’t know they had. Perhaps the power of my talk could be found in a simple idea they were waiting to hear. For the last 20 years, I have been traveling the world trying to shine a light on fitness, positivity and a healthy lifestyle. Here is a list I have discovered that won’t fail you if you want to shut out the darkness and turn on the lights for yourself or someone else:
5 Ways To Shine The Light For Someone Else
1. Illuminate The Way
One great way to get someone on the positive path is to show them there is one in the first place. A person with no vision is as blind as being in the dark.
Action Item: Help someone to discover a vision for what they would like to achieve and the path to get there.
2. Radiate Belief
One of the greatest gifts you can give is your belief in someone else. People often need someone to have faith in them so they have faith in themselves.
Action Item: Let someone know that you believe they have the ability and skills to make their vision come true.
3. Make Strengths Sparkle
Many people don’t recognize their natural talents. Your job is to shine a light on those abilities to make their gifts more visible.
Action Item: Identify a strength someone has of which they are not aware. Then let the person know about it.
4. Brighten Their Day
One of the biggest desires is the desire to be appreciated. Unfortunately, you may be keeping the positive things you see in others to yourself (especially those closest to you.)
Action Item: Give out compliments when you see something you like. Don’t hold it in.
5. Share The Spotlight
Your story, your energy, and your skills have much more power when you give them away. Surprisingly, you will also feel much more important when you do.
Action Item: Instead of seeking credit, seek to give it out. Use some of your best abilities to make someone else stronger, feel better or get them closer to where they want to go.
Shining the light of attention is the best way to illuminate someone else.
In the 1920’s a factory outside of Chicago called the Hawthorne Works commissioned a study to see whether its workers would be more productive in higher or lower levels of light. When the researchers turned up the lights, guess what happened? They were more productive. Then something interesting happened. When the researchers dimmed the lights, the workers’ productivity increased again! When the study ended, their performance decreased. Interpretations of the study suggested that the increases in productivity resulted because the workers felt special and knew people has increased their focus on them. This power of increased interest in someone has been dubbed in psychological circles as “the Hawthorne effect.”
They shined the light. Then dimmed it. It wasn’t the light, but the focus on the workers that made them become more. So what is the best way you can “illuminate” someone else? Pay attention to them!
When you turn on the lights for someone, you make things visible that they couldn’t see before.
A coach or parent or teacher’s job is turn on the lights. When you turn on the lights, it is much easier for a person to find his or her way. Focus on someone today and don’t be surprised when they shine much brighter because you did.
Edison took 1,000’s of attempts to make the lightbulb. Being positive takes work too. It is a skill to learn to shine the light of attention. To find gifts in others. To redirect people onto the positive path. Work the list above and you might find people more dazzling than before.
Get some sunglasses. It is time to light it up.
Yours in Strength,
P.S. Want to know all my coaching secrets and help others reach their goals?
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