I used to believe that to matter in life, I had to be BIG.
And for me, BIG meant having an important career, being an influencer, someone people wanted to know, someone …. well special.
There were particular jobs, businesses and roles that seemed to elevate someone’s social standing or desirability. I wanted that.
I also believed that how much money I had, the business turnover, the subscribers, the likes, the loves, the tweets, the pins, the shares, was the only measurement that mattered. “I” would matter when these numbers were BIG.
Recently, I had one of those ‘A-HA’ moments that strike you when you least expect it.
This one happened to me in the bathroom……enough said, I guess. I had been listening to a podcast earlier that day, where the speaker discussed the notion of having a career & life that matters. She said “That to play it BIG in life, one must be prepared to play it DEEP as well”.
Deep? What did she mean by deep?
And then I remembered a particular customer service attendant in LAX Airport, in Los Angeles.
On a recent trip to LA, Dani & I arrived at LAX airport very early in the morning after a 15-hour flight from Sydney. As we were herded into customs, a voice came over the PA system to instruct us what to do next. The voice was a woman’s and by the tone and rhythm I assumed she was Afro-American.
She greeted the tired passengers with a sense of purpose and warmth & even a bit of humour. So much so that her happy, joyful voice (unlike the monotone voices at Tullamarine Airport back home) injected a sense of excitement, joy and energy within us. Dani and I picked up on her enthusiasm and we looked at one another with grins on our faces.
Her commitment to serve came from the heart, the deepest of all places. It spoke to our hearts. I didn’t understand it then but now I know she was playing it deep.
I looked around and noticed Dani & I weren’t the only ones who picked up on her energy. Many others were perked up by her attitude and you could feel how excited we all were to have arrived. Her role was simple and perhaps to some, not a very important or aspirational role to have…but not to her. In that moment, her role was to be the welcoming voice of LA and its people and damn did she do a great job.
So much so that here, months later, I am writing about the impact she had on Dani & me.
She also understood the most important detail of playing it deep, in that it didn’t matter if there was one person or 1000 people in that customs area, all that mattered was how she showed up.
Isn’t this really what having a BIG life is all about? Isn’t it about the affect we have on everyone we meet and not just those who we perceive as important or having something to offer us?
Our customer service attendant at LAX reminded me of very important truth – it’s not about what we do but who we are when doing it. She was grateful for her job. How do I know? Because it was 6am in the morning and she was present, big hearted and alive! She loved what she was doing and we felt that. Her employer couldn’t have asked for more.
Playing it deep is about choosing love.
And when we choose love we are choosing to be of service in any way we can.
We’re choosing to give, not take.
So let me ask you:
If you work in a store, how will you show up for your customers?
Will you greet them with a smile & remember their name?
If you sell real estate, how will you show up for your vendors & your buyers?
Will you honour their heightened emotions that come with buying their first home? Will you be there after the sale ends?
If you are a parent, how will you show up for your children?
Will you be fully present when they seek your attention? Will you remind them that you love them often?
How we show up in the everyday is powerful stuff.
And I think this is what the speaker in the podcast meant when she said to play it deep this content.
What I realise now is the material successes I desire , will follow me in my slipstream as a consequence of my commitment to be of service in the world, through my work.
I believe we never know whose lives we will impact and how. So our actions and choices matter. The true power and influence we seek in the world lies in how we show up and serve others. It’s not what we do but how we do it.