Life is made up of a series of moments.
When you reflect back upon your life’s journey there are more than likely a handful of vivid points that represent moments of meaningful change. In my case some of those moments include a high school art teacher that said I was quite good at design and perhaps I should look into it for University. Meeting my nephew for the first time and realising I may actually want to have children one day. Watching a youtube video that made me want to totally reposition my design business.
What's interesting about these moments is that we often don’t realise how powerful they are until we reflect back on them, sometimes years later. A passing comment from a teacher or an intriguing thought you happen upon can change your life's trajectory without you knowing it at the time.
I’ve just started reading ‘The Workshopper Playbook’ by Jonathan Courtney from AJ&Smart. AJ&Smart are a Design Sprint Agency and are world leaders in implementing design sprints for a very impressive client list. Jonathan is one of the founders and recalls the moment in 2016 when his business was on the brink of collapsing and he was about to jump on a flight. Instead of grabbing the fiction book he wanted to read, he grabbed the book ‘Sprint: How to Solve Big Problems and Test New Ideas in Just Five Days’ by Jake Knapp, only because it fit into his bag. He read the book cover to cover on the flight and it changed the course of his life forever. This serendipitous moment changed how Jonathan ran his company and completely turned his business around.
The random nature in which these moments appear in our lives means we can never really know which will become more profound and meaningful in the future. Which encounters, exchanges or ideas will become a seed from which a new relationship will grow or path will emerge. Not knowing means we are best to treat every instance as a potential ‘powerful’ moment, this isn’t just for our benefit but for the benefit of others as well.
I think we underestimate the importance of our role in other people’s lives. Many pivot points in my journey have been inspired by others or come directly from a friend’s encouragement.
This morning when I got to work there was a message from LinkedIn saying I’d been tagged in a post by my friend Bonita. Bonita has just landed a new job and thanked me for inspiring her to follow her own path. Bonita and I met in the comments section of LinkedIn posts and eventually graduated to having a zoom catch up which we have done a few times now.
To receive that message this morning reminded me that I have the power to be a catalyst in someone else's life. That what I say and do can affect the path that someone else chooses to take, even when that path is on the other side of the world.
Everytime you stop and listen. Everytime you share a story or experience (be it good or bad). Everytime you genuinely care about the other people in your life, you plant a little seed. That seed may or may not bloom into something spectacular, you may not know until years later. If it doesn’t, all you're left with is a lush, green field full of meaningful connections. Nurturing that field is one of life's great pleasures.