If you’ve tried to help or teach someone who’s struggling, stubborn or in distress—only to watch them continue to select the same cycle of unhealthy choices, you may feel exasperated and ready to give up. Before throwing in the towel, you may choose to learn more about this alternative approach and save your own sanity while reducing stress for you and others. In today’s article, we will look at this powerful yet subtle way to share what we know—and lead by example.
Have you ever had a friend that was super excited about something that’s bringing them lots of joy and they want you to jump on their bandwagon? Maybe they started a new diet, they know you wanted to lose weight and so they are all over you with the new diet plan. Maybe they found a new super-fruit that cures every known ailment including laziness—and they want you to taste it and buy into the company. Maybe they’ve started selling anti-wrinkle cream and now they’re sure that even their family Shar-Pei has smoother skin. Maybe they’ve found a connection to God that gives them solace, hope and guidance and they want everyone they know to experience this joy.
Can’t fix “clueless”
No matter how excited that friend is about what he or she knows, if we have no clue what that experience is like, it is nearly impossible for them to make us understand or value it. We must EXPERIENCE it for ourselves. As one of my favorite monks Ajahn Chah wrote, “How can we describe yellow to a blind person? By saying, ‘It’s not red? It’s lighter than orange and like the color of the sun?’ Well, they don’t know what red or orange, or the sun looks like. It means nothing to them.”
Get the picture?
No matter how excited we are, or how much we would like to lead our friends and family to share in the things we enjoy, the easiest way to do this is to lead by example. How WE LIVE, is how we “teach” or “lead” others. If we are excited about something and it’s truly something worthwhile and of value, people will be able to see the results or “fruits” of our excitement and choice to “do” it. To reference the earlier examples, if we’re on that new diet and people can SEE that we’ve lost weight and kept it off, they will be more willing to believe that the diet may work for them too. If we’re drinking a new super-fruit, we’re no longer lazy and accomplish the goals we set for ourself, others will be more willing to believe that the super-fruit may work for them too. If we’re using anti-wrinkle cream and our skin looks smoother, people may ask us if they might try some too. And if we’re truly connected to Life/God, people will be able to see the results of this in our love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control—and they may be inspired to experience it too.
Something to consider
If, in the past, we may not have led by a good example, there is one guarantee—today is a new day and we can change. If you doubt that you can become a good example for others, give yourself the gift of healing by reading my previous, free article about how to forgive ourselves and live in joy.
Results aren’t immediate
Even if our life is filled with good results from things we’re passionate about, and we are experiencing abundant health, wealth, and happiness, that doesn’t mean everyone will want to live like us. People have their own lives and lessons to learn and live. It’s our job (and our joy) to simply keep on keeping on … and if people want what we have, we can happily share it with them.
Our happy, healthy example is enough
It can be tempting to step in and try to “save” people we love from their unhealthy behaviors like, “me-me” arrogance, greed and need, lust of people and stuff, envy of whatever we don’t have, over-indulgence in food and drink, anger at people and God, and even overall laziness. However, Life has its way of teaching us whatever lesson we need to know. There is no need for us to stress ourselves over “trying” to step in front of Life, thinking we can teach better than experience. We cannot help people who aren’t ready to receive our messages. Our positive presence is powerful and enough of a “teacher,” if people are willing to see.
Steps to leadership
When we’re positively focused on being a good, strong example of what’s best and doing what we can, we live in the hope and possibilities of a new and brighter future for ourself and others. If you are ready to lead by example, take these easy, first steps.
- To inspire others, be inspired. How can you do more of what inspires you?
- Be your best and people will be drawn to you and they may change. How can you be more of your best?
Yes, you can.
Let’s not give in to the ridiculously limiting belief that we “can’t” lead by example. That’s poppycock and we are better than that. If we believe we can’t, we’ll never try or move forward, and we’re nearly doomed to fail. If instead, we curiously and kindly look for ways that we CAN move forward, and then we do, we succeed.
What say ye?
Please share your thoughts and feelings so we may grow in strength and willpower together…
Always with love,