Peter* said to me, “You’re courageous and enthusiastic. Your energy inspired me. I’ve accomplished things I wouldn’t have started before.” We were performing an exercise providing others with evidence-based encouragement. I was humbled. I was honored. I was confused.
I didn’t view myself as courageous and enthusiastic. I didn’t think of myself as inspiringly energetic. I had hardly any interaction with Peter in our 7 weeks working together. Yet I had this influence on him.
Peter didn’t know me well. If I were a book, he didn’t get past the cover. That doesn’t matter. We influence many who don’t know us well. We influence our co-workers, our leaders, our friends, our kids, strangers in coffee shops, etc. Many of these people will barely know us beyond our cover.
A successful book cover captures and conveys the essence of what a book is about. It is a projection of the aspirations of the book. Successful covers reflect what’s on the inside. Less successful covers don’t. Mine doesn’t. I project what I want myself to be. People see the cover of the autobiography of Eric. Between the cover tells a different story.
Courageous, enthusiastic, and energetic. To Peter that’s who I was. For me, it’s who I aim to be. It’s not who I am, not yet. Reflections from people like Peter let me know I’m becoming what I aspire to be. It shows me I have re-writes to do. The story I’m telling myself and the cover I’m projecting don’t match up. I am rewriting the book to match the cover.
I didn’t know that I influenced Peter to do more than he thought possible. Peter doesn’t know he influenced me to become more of what I aspire to be.
You can’t know a book by it’s cover. But you can judge it. Let people in your life know the good you see projected on their covers. You’ll change the life they are writing for themselves. And you’ll rewrite your own.
I am writing and revising my autobiography until I die. That is how I can best live.
Who can you lift up today? Who can you show what they don’t yet see in themselves? How will you re-write your story today by helping someone else re-write theirs?