The Influence Advantage: 6 ideas for Reflecting Hope

Mirror, Mirror on the Wall. How does that thing staring back at us invigorate the hope that lies within? Well, I know the thing staring back at me doesn't do the trick most of the time. One of the biggest reasons why is because I don't see something else, I just see me. Did you know that when dogs look at themselves in a mirror, they don't see themselves? They see another dog! This tidbit of information doesn't make the dog's perspective any better or worse than ours, but it's interesting and different. Seeing another dog means your dog is not alone, and moving from alone to community brings the hope of something more. Typically, upon seeing that reflection, dogs become very excited. The anticipation of something fresh and new brings out a reaction that becomes infectious, not just to the dog, but to everyone else around. What if our own reflection brought about an infectious energy that produces life?

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But it doesn't, because we know better. We know how we've faltered and we know the potential of what we see in the mirror. But do we? What happens when we lose the perspective of what we see? What happens when we don't have that thought? Human babies, when they see themselves in the mirror, they also don't recognize their own face. They have no idea what they are looking at. That refreshment of embarking into the unknown gaze of a non-threatening, safe, yet oddly familiar situation is the wonder a baby has when looking at their own reflection. What if we could look at the same situation with a refreshed point of view? What if we looked at life with a sense of wonder?

This seems very "Disney", right? Dogs and babies. Here's one word that describes them both. Innocence. That puppy and that baby does no wrong. What if we looked at people that way, in a forgiving, fulfilling way, with the innocence of tomorrow! Reflecting the hope of others isn't about forgetting about the length of life or trying to dismiss the ebbs and flows of life. Reflecting hope is about the wonder of possibility. Sure, that last proposal didn't go as planned, that cake didn't come out just right or that conversation took a devastating turn. Reflecting hope isn't about washing away the past dreads. It's about providing a light at the end of the tunnel. When the dog runs into the mirror, pain is the first response, but when they see themselves in the mirror, it's like another dog literally feels their pain. A baby is crying for attention, looking for mommy, but when they see themselves, they found the companion they weren't looking for.

So here's how we can gain the advantage of influence through reflecting hope:

1) Be a constant reminder that there is more to what your people see in themselves than what is on the surface.

2) Help others embrace perspective in a way that lets them know they are never alone.

3) Create and maintain an infectious attitude that produces vitality with and in others.

4) Make opportunities for others to realize their potential, even if it means you might have to give a bit of your platform away.

5) Speak and respond with a refreshing tone that projects safety and familiarity.

6) Challenge yourself to dream with wonder then extend the challenge by sharing the dream with others, holding each of you accountable!

Caleb Roche