In the story we tell about our lives, we are typically the protagonist and everyone else is a supporting player.
When you are in a goal tunnel, driving toward what you want, or in a fear state about how to achieve it, it’s easy to look at life with a lens of how and if others can help you get there.
For many people, that’s the default state. It’s fight-or-flight, sink-or-swim, eat-or-be-eaten.
When we meet new people from this place, we may wonder, often subconsciously,
What role will these people play in the story of my life?
Part of my mindfulness journey has been to break this habit; to shift to a place of coming from service by default.
That effort can be complicated by people who ask “what are you getting out of it?” They often want to protect us.
As I sat in the last row of the van on the way to Santa Catalina last week, I took in each of the eight people with whom I would share the next week.
I started to wonder what role they would play in my retreat journey. Then I made a conscious decision to shift my perspective.
A Shift in Perspective
Instead of considering myself the protagonist, I flipped the script:
What if I was here to be the supporting player in their growth and evolution?
I created a new question:
What role can I play in the life of each person here?
How could I elevate their week, serve as a light for them, and collaborate with them to create an extraordinary week?
That’s a tactical way my three words for the year shape how I operate.
This type of question is a shift from what can I receive? to how can I serve?
It’s not the first time I’ve made this shift. This is the practice: repeatedly shifting my mindset to this mode of being until the new mindset becomes habit, even in a moment of personal uncertainty.
How to Feel More Fulfilled
It never fails to amaze me that every time I come from this perspective — when I put aside my agenda for what I desire, or my personal outcome and focus on service — that I receive so much more in return.
Over the course of the week I engaged in many meaningful conversations with my new friends. Some turned into mini coaching sessions.
Those conversations were equally helpful to me. I received much more than I gave.
Each person in my group was a portal through which I could see an aspect of myself. They reflected truths to me about my growth and the areas where I still need improvement. Our conversations affirmed the ways in which I add value and amplified the still, small voice of my calling.
At the start of the week I felt like I would “fall behind” my timeline for the work I wanted to do here in the downtime between surfing, yoga, and meals.
In fact, it was the opposite. By putting my personal agenda aside, I gained more relevant insight than I ever could have gained by staying internal.
To find fulfillment we must do something outside ourselves.
The secret to fulfillment is contribution.