A few years back, I was invited to speak at our local County Commissioners meeting. I was not entirely sure what it was they wanted me to talk about, just a vague request to "come to tell us what you do."
So I did.
A few friends came along for support, and when it was my turn, I stepped up to the podium and shared a summary of what my work is, what I get up excited to do every day. Speaking to a panel of 5 very grown-up looking people, four men and one woman, if I remember well.
As I was telling them about people wearing yellow shirts, about our gratitude box, our community potlucks, and other happiness-celebrating invitations, I was growing increasingly aware of "The Observer." The Observer was the part of me who was not talking about such slightly unconventional work things but instead was observing me talk about them - and having a few opinions about it all. Turns out The Observer also had a few things to say about my audience.
Hard to keep on talking about happiness when the voice in your head is such a grump.
Somehow I managed to deliver the few points I had prepared, thanked them for their time, and yes, finally stopped talking.
Things seemed mighty quiet for what felt like a long time.
Should I get down from the podium? Will there be questions? Is there some sort of protocol, here?
Before The Observer started spewing again, the one lady spoke. Her first few words, looking straight at me, were: "You have made my ...." somewhere in my mind I wondered if she could, possibly could say that I had made her day. "You have made my whole career," she finished.
Um... what? Who?
I knew I had to say something, but my eyes got a little blurry and my throat a little tight, as she looked straight at me, and I tried to take in her words.
She had liked it. She had liked what I had said and did not think it was silly.
I thanked her in what looked like an assured way.
The Observer was snoring, having conveniently missed my big moment.
Then, the man at the end of the row, the man whom The Observer had said looked angry, that man got ready to talk.
Of course, The Observer woke up and opened an eye as this promised to be good.
"Well," he started.
I held my breath.
"Well. I liked what you said, and I liked what you said about gratitude. Personally, I get a little tired of sitting here, Tuesday after Tuesday, listening to a string of complaints of what is not working. Starting next week, I would like to implement a 15-minutes "County and Individual Success Stories" segment. We will invite people to come to the podium and tell us what's going well."
Just. Like. That.
The Observer looked disgusted and left the room.
Something inside of me filled up and found a place to settle, and my friends got up and clapped.
Years later, this 15-minute invitation remains as a container for people to share their gratitude and appreciation.
So today, I invite you to never dismiss the power YOUR story holds. Share the good, share your heart, share the stuff that seems to not make that much sense - yet does.
Next, I invite you to never take Your Observer too seriously, especially when it is telling you about how silly you are.
Finally, if I have inspired you, today or another day, I will borrow the prompt of my friend Julia Butterfly Hill and ask you: "what is it that I am inspiring YOU to do?"
Wishing you a lovely rest of the day,
PS: If you want some structure and support in growing the Gratitude in your own life, I encourage you to become part of my free, powerful and oh so sweet online Gratitude Group!