This past week I was fortunate enough to attend a game changing conference called, “Summit of Greatness”. As a leadership and business development coach, I go to events like this often but this one was a first, it was a first because my biggest takeaways were not from the speakers (though they all were AMAZING) but from the connecting conversations they created amongst the attendees. The most poignant one, that I will never, ever forget, and has inspired this blog entry, was given by this incredible woman by the name of Liz who I want to personally thank for her vulnerability, her strength, and her courage.
I first “met” Liz the same time as most of the attendees did, when she stood up during a Q&A with Najwa Zebian and shared with us a short, poignant version of her story. She told us that she was from Hungary and had gone through many trials, including being homeless, to get to where she was today. Najwa had spoken about how the question “Who do you think you are?” used to fill her with dread and make her retreat because she wanted to be whoever that person wanted her to be in order to make them happy. But now she knows exactly how to answer that question for herself. Liz shared how much that inspired her and today she knew her answer, “I am a champion!”. Instantly, we all burst into tears. It is crazy how one, seemingly simple question, can create such a ripple effect. But this isn't where her inspiration ends, at least not for me. It continued on later that day when we rode the elevator together to the same floor and had a 5 min conversation in the hallway of our hotel.
As we were talking she informed me that they wanted to interview her for the documentary they were filming about the event and she was just in awe of what she had started. She told me she had done all these things in her life: earned a degree, built a great life, but she never thought she was enough to be an inspiration to someone, let alone over a thousand people. That's what sparked this process for me. Why is it that we work so hard on goals to impress others and/or create a life for ourselves but when it comes to “inspiring” others we don't think we have what it takes? We think that inspiration is reserved for people like Lewis Howes, Tony Robbins, Tim Storey, etc. when, instead, it's available to all of us, we just need to choose to use it. Liz chose that day to stand up and share her story, that one, little act, has now created a ripple effect for every single person who met her during that conference and possibly hundreds of thousands more who will watch this documentary. We have EVERYTHING we need to answer our soul's calling, so why don’t we trust ourselves? Why do we reserve ourselves to what we think we are capable of? You can be any type of person you want to be. To quote Brendon Burchard, also a speaker at this event, “Greatness isn't a personality trait, it's a practice”.
Any major shift in history all started with an idea and a person. 99.9% of the time, that person didn't even mean to create it into a movement, but by being vulnerable and open (with the right people), it inspired others, who then inspired others, and before you know it your “voice” is now channelling through millions of people and a difference is being made. Nothing happens overnight, but it all happens the same way, with one step. You CAN make a difference, and you can make that difference every day. You may never see the full effect of your actions but it always makes a difference, I guarantee that. Don’t belittle yourself, don't short change yourself, nobody's a nobody, you are somebody.
Liz forever changed my thinking that day, by simply standing up and answering the question “Who do you think you are?”. The world doesn't give you want you want, the world gives you who you are. So, who do you think you are?