As the oldest of four children, I was told frequently that I was the example for all of my siblings. They followed what I did, good or bad.
I thought I would eventually grow out of that role. I haven’t. I’ve just expanded my spheres of influence.
Whether you want them to or not, many people look to you for how to or not to do things. What you say and, more importantly, what you do matters.
While I’ve done and continue to do my best to live a good and authentic life, there are things I wish I had done differently. It’s easy to see our missteps in the rearview mirror.
But the fact of the matter is, I can’t. I can’t turn back time and do and say the things I know are important now.
What I can do is be an example. I can be honest with people and others about what I’ve found works and what doesn’t. I can layout the mistakes I made, own them and tell anybody who wants to listen, how I fixed what has felt broken.
Kiddos, especially are blessed with an amazingly accurate BS detector. They are also pretty forgiving. They look to the adults in their life for guidance but can discern saying from doing. If you are saying one thing and doing another, they know.
If you have children or adults in your life who look up to you, you owe it to them to live your most authentic life. A life free of BS. A life that you can be proud of. The life you have always wanted. When they watch you do that, it instills in them the very real belief that they can do it too.
But you know who you owe it to most? You. You owe it to yourself to jump the heck out of your comfort zone and do that thing or things you’ve always wanted to do. That thing that scares and excites you. That thing.
While I may not have been the perfect example for my siblings growing up, I hope that I am someone that they can love and trust to do the right thing.
For my own children, my hope is that they see someone who has stumbled but never stayed down and always reached for the sun, even when it seemed so incredibly out of reach.
For my students, and anybody else who looks at my life, I hope they see a human being who is flawed but forgives always and is continually moving forward to create the best life she can for herself and those around her.
Today, take a look around. Who is watching you? Who is looking to you for direction, even though they may not ask for it? Are you living a life that people can use as an example of a life well-lived? If not, what is one thing you can do today to start that journey? And as always, if you need support, post below.