Who Can Be Your Mirror? Allowing Others to Inspire You
Who can be your mirror?
If you think back on your life, I bet you'll find a "mirror" or two. A "mirror" is someone who sees something important in you that you might never have seen on your own.
This is the teacher who believed in you and pushed you to try something outside of your comfort zone. It's the one-time encounter with a stranger that shifted your thinking. And it's even the naysayer who told you - there's no way you can do it, and you did anyway.
Today, I'm sharing three "mirrors" that have been pivotal to my career and my life, in the hopes it will encourage you to look around, to open up, and make sure you're making room for more "mirrors" in your life.
Bridget, the Mirror to Finding My Career Passion
Would you believe that the roots - the fundamental insights that make up the basis of Greatest Story Creative, was crystalized and changed forever by a stranger who found me off of Google?
In February 2013, Bridget was a bride who found my website via Google. She saw my wedding invitations and emailed me - asking if I could help her tell her love story in her wedding programs.
It wasn't until this happened than I had ever, ever considered using my writing and design storytelling skillsets to help a real person tell their story.
What it meant:
It was an observation that'd been right in front of me for my entire life. I'd always been a writer and an artist, but I hadn't yet found for the right way to "marry" those skills.
It took this stranger to see that talent in ME - to be the mirror I desperately needed.
All the ingredients were there, but it was this ask - this opportunity and my willingness to take it on - that has led me to my career passion and purpose: helping real people tell their story through writing and design.
Here's that first project, that led to so many others: Bridget and Mychal's Wedding.
This is work I never dreamed of doing, but am now so driven by. Mirror #1, Bridget.
photography - Lacey for Scobey Photography
Sandra, the Mirror to Forcing Me to Face My Fears
In my experience, people as mirrors aren't always bright and happy experiences. Such is this next story, where it took someone mocking me to my face to finally push me to face my own deep down truths.
After taking a huge leap to move from CA to NC and giving up my amazing job at Disney, I was living in fear. I was pursuing job leads and considering the start of Greatest Story as a part-time business for the beginning.
In this process, I was this close to taking a job at a local ad agency. In fact, the agency was going to create a job for me! I was in a meeting about the job and had to meet with the No. 2 person at the agency, Sandra.
The meeting was awkward. It quickly switched from a conversation to an intense job interview. Sandra asked me why I wanted to work in marketing and advertising.
I answered her honestly, positively - "because I want to work on local brands and help them make a difference."
Upon hearing this, she starts laughing in my face. Chuckling. Guffawing. All of it. "You want to make a difference... in marketing?!" (subtitle: "What an idiot!")
I've never had someone laugh in my face before, especially in relation to sharing my purpose and career passion. It sucked.
What It Meant:
I think about this story fairly often. And I'll tell you, I'm mostly compelled to send this woman a fruit basket.
After her confrontation, I was forced to face how I was really feeling. I got out of that meeting politely, then promptly spent 45 minutes bawling my eyes out to my dad (you know, what most 28 year olds do!). I told my dad I knew what I wanted to do after facing that - I wanted to run Greatest Story full-time and the only reason I wasn't was because I was scared.
I didn't really want to work for anyone else, I was just terrified I'd fail on my own. I wanted to go the "easy route." Sandra forced me to see the easy route was copping out. It wasn't what I really wanted. She was the mirror I needed. Maybe not the one I wanted, but the one I needed, at the right time.
I turned down the job offer and subsequently went full-time with Greatest Story on 1/25/13.
And I remember this when I'm afraid - to take the risks on what matters to you, there's no safe option. It's like what Jim Carrey has said,
"You can fail at what you don't want, so you might as well take a chance on doing what you love."
Being a Mirror for Others
The third "mirror" that's changed my life and business is remembering to be a mirror for others.
The work I do, especially in giving strategic perspective to my clients, is really all about that. It's about seeing your story and its strengths - and being a mirror to you about them. It's showing you how to put a professional spotlight on them through words, or graphics, or a website.
So keep in mind, giving someone a real compliment might not only brighten their day, it could change their life. Tell people what they do matters to you. Invest in the businesses of the people you admire. Tell them what makes them special - thank and appreciate them for what they contribute to your life.
Because you don't know - you may be the most important mirror someone will ever have. You may have already guided entire careers and lives on a chance encounter, simply by showing some love, kindness, and appreciation.
How to Find More Mirrors in Your Life
The thing about these experiences I've shared with you is that they are all instances of being vulnerable. For someone to have an impact on you, no matter the relationship, you need to be open to something new happening.
What if I hadn't taken on Bridget's project? Would I have figured out I was meant to use my storytelling skillset from Disney and other parts of my life to help real people instead?
What if I hadn't applied for that particular job? What if I hadn't put myself out there?
You have to get into the adventure for a catalyst to happen. That's what these mirrors are - catalysts. In the world of filmmaking and storytelling, a catalyst is an event that happens that pushes the hero into the journey and adventure ahead. It's the moment where life changes.
So I leave you this week to think about catalysts and mirrors. What are the mirrors that have changed your life so far? How can you leave yourself more open and vulnerable for opportunities for people to see things in you? And how can you be a better mirror for others?
All I have to say is that, in a world of Sandras, be a Bridget.