I travel a lot and find myself in different hotel work out areas. On this one evening it was me and one other guy in the gym. I found it a bit comforting that I was not the only crazy person working hard to exercise while on the road. This guy was there before me lifting weights until he had a good sweat. We didn’t interact other than the acknowledgement ‘nod’ you sometimes get in the gym from others who are in the space doing something similar to you.
As if hotel rooms, conference rooms, meeting rooms and generic restaurants are not enough of a hassle, having to figure out the different gym equipment – what works what doesn’t – can really dampen your desire to exercise. Seeing someone else navigating the same challenges makes it a bit easier AND motivates everyone else that if they can do it, you can do it. Seeing them try reinforces your need to keep trying.
Sometimes it is the presence of another person that lifts our spirits to do what we need to do, like in the case of working out. We may not know them or have any contact with them, it is simply their presence that validates our own actions. Runners seeing other runners on the road, people walking seeing others walking and simply giving a one handed wave. Maybe you are the one who dressed up for Halloween and you see another person doing the same from across the street, or you wore a t-shirt supporting your cause and someone else at Walmart has the same cause on their shirt. You may not know them and yet their similar efforts remind you that what you are doing matters. The simple things we do in our lives that may appear to go unnoticed DO have an impact even when only observed by strangers.
If our actions can have that kind of impact on strangers, how do they impact those who know and love us? How much more power do we have on those who see us often to impact their behaviors for good, especially when we are working towards good? The people who know us may never bring it up, yet our presences in their lives and our consistent actions over time have the ability to bring out their best. Because we are doing they are encouraged to ‘do’ as well. Never underestimate the power of being the one doing something, when observed by strangers or loved ones alike, just being there can impact the world for good.