“How do you inspire and instill change in others?”
There is a fascinating story about Gandhi that illustrates this.
Many years ago, a mother became concerned about her son’s candy addiction. No matter how much she hid the candy and tried to explain to the boy how bad sugar was for his teeth, he’d still find and eat it.
It became so challenging for her that she decided to seek out help.
She walked for miles in the scorching sun, and stood for hours in line, to talk with and ask help from none other than Gandhi. She felt that if Gandhi told the boy to stop eating candy, he’d listen.
When she arrived, she asked: “Will you please tell my son to stop eating candy? I know he will obey you.”
Gandhi looked up at her and said, “Please come back and see me in two weeks.”
The women left feeling confused, unsure of why she had to come back and wait in line again.
Nonetheless, two weeks later, she arrived back with her son to see Gandhi.
This time he looked sternly in the boy’s eyes and said, “Young man, I want you to stop eating candy.” The boy bowed down and said, “Yes, sir. I will not eat candy anymore.”
As the mother was leaving, she asked, “Mr. Gandhi, sir, why did you not tell my son two weeks ago to stop eating candy?”
Gandhi looked up at the mother and said, “It took me that long to stop eating candy myself.”
I love this story because it illuminates the biggest challenge I see in the space of change: being the example.
If you want to “change the world,” I ask of you this: what are you doing to change yourself? How are you living into the change you wish you see?
If you want to inspire others, I ask of you this: what do you do to inspire yourself? What does being the example look and feel like to you?
If you want to teach anything, I ask of you this: how are you mastering that which you speak?
All change begins with you.
Whatever we seek to inspire within others, we must first master within ourselves.