Among the hundreds of people I’ve coached and counseled, there’s a striking and honorable theme. It’s one that prompts people to seek support in becoming their best self. It’s one that guides behavior, values, and wants. It motivates their reflection, desire for improvement, and a genuine regard for having a positive impact on the greater good.
So let’s give credit where credit is due. After all, that’s what keeps us going.
The theme I’m referring to is the ripple effect. Regardless of the particulars that bring people to coaching or counseling, clients share a common concern about the imprint they leave on society – their family, friends, colleagues, neighbors, clients.
This collective consciousness about their personal effect on what extends beyond their immediate reach impresses me. So much so that it inspired my book.
Imagine throwing a stone into a pond. The impact of that first splash dramatically changes the surface of the water. The point of contact immediately erupts. The stone sinks. Then, emerging upward is a driving force that defies the laws of gravity.
At first it creates one large ripple which cascades into other smaller ripples, softening as they extend out from the source. Eventually they subside, homeostasis is achieved, and still water resumes.
That stone effected a broader area than just its entry point. And so do you. You are the source of a ripple effect. That’s your power.
Take a moment to imagine the ripple effect of any conversation you’ve had recently. Maybe you felt frustrated and annoyed when talking with a coworker. Your words were short and curt. That started a ripple.
You might not have seen it, but the receiver of those words felt it. She may have carried it home to her daughter, husband, or cat who then passed the negative ripple onto others, random activities, and so on.
On the flip side, maybe you took a moment to take a deep breath, refocus, practice gratitude and instead expressed appreciation to your son, wife, or colleague. That started a ripple. What kind of cascade did that create? That’s where you have immense power to create positive change.
When people feel positive vibes, support, and love they respond in kind. They let their guard down. They open up to conversation. They reciprocate the positivity.
As an example, what happened the last time you complimented someone on the style of their hair or shoes? You probably received a, “Thank you!” and then a compliment in return. How nice! Now everybody feels good. When we feel good we’re more motivated to work, love, and engage.
The ripple effect translates to all areas of your life. If you’re a boss, what happened the last time you expressed appreciation to your team for their efforts? You probably felt a renewed sense of ownership and productivity. You may have noticed better cooperation and teamwork on projects and an overall lift in morale. If you’re a parent, what happens when you compliment your child?
It’s way too easy to feel bogged down and become consumed by the endless demands of our 21st century lives. So take a moment to create a positive ripple. Look for reasons to do it. Observe what happens. You are more powerful than you realize.
Photos courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net by digidreamgrafix, Paul Brentnall, & aopsan