Friday, August 07, 2009

What Are You Leaving in Your Jet Stream?

I find it interesting how easily we affect each other with our actions. The other night I was having dinner with a friend. We were sitting on a patio and the weather was extremely warm. Each of us had a glass of white wine that we were drinking.

We were drinking our wine slowly. White wine is supposed to be slightly chilled. Obviously in the hot weather, it was warming up faster than we would have liked.

It is considered very uncultured to put ice in your wine. I've done it on many occasions, especially in my younger days, but only when no one could see me do it.

My friend and I put some ice cubes in our wine to cool it off a bit. It was refreshing and I felt totally good about my decision to 'break the rule' and take this action.

Within a very short time, the two women at the table next to us (the same women who were the subject of my 'sweater' entry yesterday), ordered fresh glasses of wine AND a glass of ice. They proceeded to put ice in their wine! They had each had a glass of wine earlier, but had not put ice in it. It was only after they observed me and my friend putting ice in our wine that they had taken that step.

My friend and I had unwittingly 'blazed a trail' that made it OK for these women to put ice in their wine.

Our behavior has the ability to influence other people - ALL THE TIME. We never know when our behavior will set an example, good or bad, for other people to follow. We never know exactly who's watching and what they might do with the example we set.

In this case, our behavior gave these women 'permission' to take an action that they might have wished to take, but were afraid to.

In other cases, we might inspire someone to do something they didn't think they could do, or, in a negative case, to break a rule that they wouldn't otherwise have broken.

I believe that we each have a responsibility to set a good example for those around us. We have a tremendous ability to liberate others through our courage, to blaze trails for others with our willingness to be different, and to call people to higher levels of conduct with our integrity.

All we have to do is live up to our potential, and remember that others are always watching us.

I once heard a teacher say that each of us leaves a 'jet stream' (like the white trail in the sky behind big jets) with our actions. We can either leave a 'jet stream' of inspiration and encouragement or a jet stream of negativity and pollution. We get to decide what we leave in our 'wake.'

How are you moving through your life? What kind of jet stream are you leaving? What impact might you be having on those around you?

You have far more power and influence than you could possibly imagine.