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The Ripple Effect of One Small Step
Kelly Eckert | Follow me on Twitter
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Solo Entrepreneur Articles > Mindset & Personal Development Articles > Law of Attraction Articles
I adopted (again) a vegan diet almost two years ago. In some ways, it was a knee-jerk reaction to learning more information about the meat industry. Going vegan felt like a way to “atone” for years of having essentially chosen to remain ignorant.
(By the way, this article is not about going vegan. I’m not going to try to convert you! Going vegan is just an example.)
Going vegan was one small step. I thought it was one small step in isolation. That is, I did not expect it to have any effect on the rest of my life.
I was, and still am, amazed to discover the ripple effect this one decision had on the rest of my life. It has made me more compassionate. It has given me a clearer view of the interconnectedness of everything. It has grounded me and given me a greater sense of purpose.
One client of mine took up running for exercise. She committed to it right away and made a point of running every day. She noticed rather quickly that she was able to make and keep other commitments more easily. She began to expect more of herself; her self-confidence increased. If she could be a runner, she could be anything.
Another client took up gardening for stress-relief. She soon noticed that she became less judgmental of other people. She began to see the potential for growth in everyone. She became more compassionate and helped to nurture the best in others.
One thing that was going on in these three examples is the exercising of our willpower muscle. Changing your diet requires willpower. Running every day takes willpower. Maintaining a thriving garden takes willpower. Regularly using willpower on that one thing strengthens the muscle and makes using willpower on other things easier.
Of course, as physical muscles become fatigued and wasted, so do willpower muscles. Using so much willpower in one area can make using it in other areas difficult or impossible. My runner client, for example, may have expended so much willpower running that she lost her ability to keep any other commitments.
So I think there is something else going on here, something that transcends willpower and strengthens the ripple effect of one small step. I think that thing is the effect of living your values.
In my case, going vegan was a way for me to live my value of compassion—not in theory, but in real three-to-five-times-a-day practice. Every bite of every meal, I put my values in action. That constant food-based reminder of my beliefs spilled over into the rest of my life. For example, if I choose compassion in my movie theater snack, how could I not choose compassion on the phone, with a store clerk or with my own family?
My gardening client valued growth and beauty. Gardening is a literal, physical demonstration for her values. That vigilance to cultivating growth and beauty in her garden spilled over to her relationships. How could she nurture the best in her flowers and see only the worst in other people? She couldn’t. She felt at peace when she brought her values of growth and beauty to all of her relationships. When she stopped being judgmental of other people and started nurturing the best in them, as she nurtured the best in her flowers, she felt a new sense of wellbeing that rippled even farther, into her career.
This kind of ripple effect doesn’t happen to everyone. But there’s nothing special or lucky about the ones to whom it does happen. I think what is essential to allowing the ripples to spread is living with integrity. That is, we must have an integrated life. We must live our values in all areas of life, not just diet or exercise, not just our relationships or our jobs. If we value compassion, we must bring compassion to everything we do, say, eat and wear. If we value beauty, we must cultivate beauty in ourselves, our homes, our neighborhoods and our relationships—even the fleeting ones.
So much of the compartmentalization that we do on a daily basis is exhausting to us. It’s understandable. For example, if you’re concentrating your energy on providing good customer service all day at work, you’re probably ready to relax and have someone serve you at the end of the day. But when you get home and confront more chores or more people to serve, your customer service skills may get thrown out the window. Sometimes you may even wonder how you can be so good at your job when you can’t seem to apply those skills outside of work.
One thing that can help is to stop focusing on providing good customer service and start focusing on your deeply-held values. Do you value harmony, cooperation and relationships? Then make that your focus—at work and at home. You’re not providing good customer service in a vacuum. Stop providing it because your job requires it. Make good customer service the result of living your values.
Living with this kind of integrity does not deplete you; it energizes you.
Sure, you’ll still be tired after work. No, you won’t always act with compassion. You ARE human! But you will be opening yourself to the ripple effect of an integrated life. When waves hit a solid surface in a body of water, they rebound. They don’t go through the solid surface. Remove the walls in your life—at least open the doors between then—and the ripples will go through, uplifting and energizing you along the way.
Visit Kelly Eckert's website for more!
About the expert:
|Kelly Eckert is a life/branding alchemist for spirit-led solopreneurs. She helps them release mental, emotional and spiritual blocks so they can expand their idea of what's possible, reach their highest potential and bring their deepest vision of the world to life without losing themselves or selling their souls. Kelly uses her own brand of biospiritual coaching to help her clients create awesomely authentic brands that get noticed.|
© Copyright 2012, Kelly Eckert