I was sitting in my office chair flustered and weary. The daily grind was getting to me. There was something missing. In a moment of inspiration, I jotted down a short article and sent it to a local editor with the headline: “Would you consider publishing this?” To my absolute surprise, the editor returned my email asking me to write something for the publication. I began to write for the first time in over ten years. A vibrancy flowed through me that I had been missing. Something shifted. I had a voice. It was a turning point in my life. I had found an outlet for my passions. A new beginning.
There is an old adage that says it takes a village to raise a child. And sometimes, it takes a mentor to turn a life around. As I think back on the people that have influenced me throughout my life, I cannot help but reflect upon the various outcomes of the paths I would have taken without each of them. It reminds me of a book A Hand to Guide Me by Denzel Washington. In it he highlights dozens of famous athletes and successful business people and how they would not be where they are without those serendipitous meetings with influential people that changed their lives forever.
On numerous occasions I have found myself being approached by others that desire only to help me. From a stranger lending me gas money when I forgot my wallet to the principal at my middle school. Jobs, friends, and a new outlook in many instances were often the result of people that chose to step into my life asking nothing in return.
When I lived Colorado, I went to a business presentation. I knew that the presentations from this particular speaker were very good and uplifting. As I watched the presentation, something began to stir in me. It had been years since I had felt this feeling. It was an energy that came upon me as if in a rush. As I continued to listen, it was as if time slowed down, and I heard him say something that sent me into a new dimension. He explained patiently that sometimes a person needs permission. Permission to feel good. Permission to let go. Permission to try again. Permission to dream again.
No individual is an island. People were meant to be in a community together. As we help each other along our chosen life paths, we benefit by helping them. Stepping into other’s lives and helping them build a foundation to a new life, or even taking them to a new level in their development or career, creates an opportunity to reflect on our own lives as we pour into someone else the knowledge and wisdom that we gained over the years. By doing this, we solidify the lessons that we have learned. In a sense, it lends relevance and strength to the rare things that we experience along the way. Teaching others gives us the chance, the opportunity, to build something outside of ourselves, often building something larger than ourselves. After all, we all need a purpose greater than ourselves.
By: Charles Joseph