At this time of the year we have an advent calendar strung up in our entrance hall. Each little bag holds something special inside, a yummy chocolate, a quote to think about throughout the day, or, new to this year, a personal task. It might be doing a random act of kindness; doing something to make us all laugh; or acknowledging someone who has made a difference in your life. I love the last one the most because I’m sure we can all remember someone who has had an impact on our life choices.
It’s probable that we all have obvious people who have influenced our life – both good and bad….a parent, friend, sibling. However, it’s always nice to seek out the less obvious influencers (after all, we’re all connected) who may not know how they changed the course of your life. I can recall how a simple conversation with one of my TAFE teachers back in 1987 motivated me to return to university to study Adult Education. I loved it so much I completed both an undergraduate and master’s degree, and travelled the world to facilitate workplace learning. All because of a conversation at Meadowbank TAFE. I’ll bet you can also reflect on your life and identify these mystery people whose ripples in the world set your boat on another course.
On a macro scale, I wanted to share with you the people who have had a massive influence on my life, beliefs and values. Some touched me years ago, and others are more recent influencers.
- Stephanie Burns. Back in 1990, this wonderful woman changed the way I thought about the world, and I have carried her teachings with me for the rest of my life. Stephanie has a worldly approach to learning that encompasses everyone, recognises that learning is so much more than academia, and manages to see the beauty in diversity (and taught me to value that). She was the first person who told me I shouldn’t aplogise for doing a good job (the ol’ I’m not worthy script!) and that I was worthy of my efforts.I stood just a little bit taller from that day on.
- Wayne Dyer. I have really only discovered his recent work in the last few years, thanks to my husband. Apparently his writing career began with more cheesy style get rich books, but he had a values shift along the way and his thoughts on life expanded. He has been my greatest teacher when it comes to appreciating how we are all connected, how lovely it is to stay in the moment,and the value of gratitude in this world. I’ve never seen a more peaceful and centered person. John and I go to watch him speak whenever he is in Sydney, and his books are a pleasure to read. There’s no surprise he’s loved by Oprah, and you can see a sample of their conversations here.
- Brene Brown. When I read Brene’s book, The Gifts of Imperfection, I found her words very akin to my own thoughts. Brene writes in a very fluid natural way, and her work on vulnerability, shame and acceptance allows unspoken thoughts to be expressed and embraced. People like those most like themselves, and I can identify with the self-discovery in her words.
- John Dimond. My unsung hero. A friend recently asked me how I gather my thoughts to write these posts, and I immediately replied that it’s thanks to having someone in my life I can grow and learn with. John and I aren’t afraid to share our thoughts and feelings on everything, and we lean on each other to process ideas, personal development, and philosophical thoughts. This really only works so spectacularly because we have learnt that the conversations are much more fulfilling when we lose our own agendas and ego, and come from an unconditional, safe place. I am so very grateful to have this wonderful man in my life. My treasure.