A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle. – James Keller
My good friend Jonathan Mead wrote a great piece titled “How to Let Others Shine.” I’m going to extend the conversation here, both because I want you to read his piece and I also didn’t want to write an epic comment on his website.
Here’s the essence of his post:
“The more you give, the more you become a conduit of illumination. You plug your heart’s spark plug into something bigger than you.”
There are some truths that need no explanation. That summary is one of them.
I love the idea of letting other people shine, but I’m going to encourage you to go one step further. Rather than just letting them shine, what can you do to help them shine? (Jonathan touched on helping people shine in his post; I’m just placing additional emphasis on it.)
Some people are so bright that they merely need to be acknowledged for what they’re already doing to shine. Others need some additional help.
Maybe they’re weirdos who are afraid that their shining will be disastrous for them. Maybe they shined in the past and shined too bright for some of those around them and were outcast. Maybe they grew up in an environment in which shining was bad.
I believe that we all shine on the inside and that we’ll shine with those people who provide the right environment for us to do so. By actively helping and encouraging people to shine, you might unlock a lighthouse of hope, love, and contribution that will light the way to a safe refuge for others.
It really is all about the ripples.
Yes, let others shine if they’re already shining. But turn up your antenna to notice those quiet people whose outer brightness is dwarfed by the superstars in their galaxy. You might be surprised at how bright they can be.
Who can you help shine today? Will you?
Special note to Big Kahunas: who can you personally help shine who isn’t on your support team or client/customer list?
Very nice post Charlie. I read Jonathan’s article and loved it. You are right about letting others shine. Especially if they are dwarfed by others. I’ve felt like that most of my life. Sometimes all it takes to make someone shine is to just put your arm around them and let them know how special they are! Thanks Charlie!
Jackie Lee says
Great post Charlie. It’s becoming clearer and clearer to me that this is the absolute way to go. It’s a win/win situation for everyone. I think that helping people gain confidence is one of the best ways to help people shine. It’s so easy to stay small when you don’t know what you’re doing, or don’t know if you’re doing something right, but just a little boost of confidence can be all it takes to move things to the next level. Thanks for all you do. I listened to your interview on Blogcastfm yesterday ~ it was fantastic. Quite a few aha moments in there. That interview has definitely impacted how I am shining, so thank you.
Brett Henley says
Fantastic, especially the finale re: people outside of your entrepreneurial bubble. I’ve had so many conversations lately about doing something bigger than the individual that my head is spinning like a top, but it’s so damn crucial to me at this stage in my journey.
The question – How do you identify those who need a nudge into the light?
Thanks for this frame of reference. I’m in the midst of working on a series of content that is based on the idea of living a “heroic” life. And your frame of reference noted here is essentially the crux of my message.
That is living a “heroic” life is not about how much you “shine” (to use Jonathan’s terminology), it’s not even about “letting” others “shine” (not that you shouldn’t do that), but rather it’s about living a life devoted to ACTIVELY help others “shine” (whether it be a flicker or a flame).
Good stuff Charlie. 🙂
Joseph Jin says
I believe it really comes down to self-knowledge. There are people who keep shining regardless of how the world reacts. These people have a strong connection to what they believe and what turns them on. It’s like they can either consciously or intuitively find the “on” switch within themselves on a pretty consistent basis. They also know what symbols, objects, and activities can trigger their “on” switch.
But most people don’t even seem to know what they really want. Their core identity and desires are mostly invisible to them.
Helping people to know what motivates them as individuals is usually not so easy. I don’t know if anyone can say they can easily find and trigger anyone else’s “on” switch.
I mean, what do you do when the greater part of human potential is locked up in people who are essentially invisible to themselves?
I SO resonate with your comment about shining in the right environment, Charlie. I spent a long time feeling very unsafe in the world and shining just didn’t feel like an option back then.
It was the right environment – a small, safe circle of support in which to try shining a little bit – that made ALL the difference. From there, I was able to start widening that circle and shining more and more fully until I had the courage to be seen “publicly”.
I just can’t say enough about our power to help each other in this way. Thanks for putting it so clearly and also for your comment about the quiet “non-superstars”. It gives a whole new spin to what “flourishing” is really all about. = >
Great message. It’s one of the secrets of life. You start becoming happy the moment you stop worrying about your needs and desires and help others get what they want. You start having more joy when you treat the world less as dog-eat-dog, and more as a community of cooperation and sharing.
Gabriele Maidecchi says
Everyone owning a business should be familiar with the concept of helping others shine. If you help your employee shine, you’re just helping your business in so many levels. You’re putting valor in what they do. You recognize their effort and their key role in the development and success of your company.
Helping your employees – and colleagues – shine is possibly the best thing any leader could do in his everyday work life.
Jonathan Mead says
Thanks for sharing your thoughts here and keeping the conversation going Charlie.
I’ve learned over and over in the past year that the most powerful way to build relationships is by helping others shine. Encouragement and offering your augmenting strengths is almost always met with appreciation and reciprocity.
Tito Philips, Jnr. says
If you were to ask me what the essence of business or life is in one word, I will gladly say it’s SERVICE.
The essence of existence is to light one another’s candle. The funny way this works is that until we form the habit of helping others shine, we never seem to shine ourselves. In other words, it is a mere dis-service to ourselves if we do not make it a habit to light the candle of others.
Thanks for sharing.
Some really great words of wisdom. I love your statement about turning up our antenna to notice the quiet people who are dwarfed by superstars. Sometimes it is difficult for some of us to toot our own horns, so to speak. I think letting others shine is a lot like listening…sometimes we just need to take a step back and move out of the spotlight. Thanks for sharing this and Jonathan’s post.
Dave Rowley says
I like the emphasis on helping other people shine over letting them shine. I’m sure it’s great for building a brand, but it’s also great to just be one person connecting with other people, as you point out. One of the things I like about blogging right now is that we seem to be grappling with the idea of community, and engaging with others in new and exciting ways, not all of them connected to making money.
I love this and it’s so clear to me that encouraging others to shine takes nothing away from us. In fact, the light multiplies and creates greater joy.
Some people are afraid to shine because our culture hasn’t necessarily rewarded JOY. No worries, though, we can shine and experience joy anyway.
My mom used to love to go to a piano bar where her friend played. A large group of friends gathered there each week and my mom was one of them. She ALWAYS greeted anyone else nearby who may be traveling through and not know anyone.
She takes it a step further. She organizes all her class reunions and they have an outing every year. Her one rule: No one is left out. Everyone is greeted and included. How good is that!
My mom knows how to help people shine. And I hope I’ve inherited some of this good will. We all need love!
Thanks for a great post.
Andrew @ Blogging Guide says
Helping other people to shine is also like helping others to come out of their shell and express themselves to the world. There are hidden potential in every individual and it just needs to be tapped. So be that instrument and let others shine too.
Dewi Maile Lim says
Aloha Charlie and fellow Brilliant Beings!
I love this conversation and the many gifts within it. I just launched a blog called Be Your Brilliance and the tagline is “Your Time to Shine is Now.” The focus of it is 100% about empowering others to shine with inspiring content, helpful resources and actionable ways to embody our Brilliance; our natural birthright.
The blog takes a “both and” approach in allowing others to shine as well as helping others shine. I am passionate about Celebrating others wins and successes as well as sharing my own. To quote Marianne Williamson’s classic from A Return to Love: “as we allow ourselves to shine we automatically liberate others to do the same.”
To our Universal Brilliance, Dewi
Marlee Huber says
One of my favorite words is flourishing–it just has a great meaning and you can really say it with a flourish. So I started a blog called yourflourishinglife.wordpress.com. I was looking for another great topic to blog about so went to google and started at the top naturally with a flourish–and your site popped up! Way to go! Then I found “How to Let your Light Shine”–and Jonathan Mead’s great blog on “How to Let Others Shine! You guys inspire me–and I’m probably old enough to be your grandmother! Thanks for the inspiration! Flourishing really is all about sharing the wisdom and sharing the stage in life. Together we cross over the bridge where God’s super just settles down on our natural and great things are produced. Keep up the good work!
joeannie alexander says
wow that was touching
Ahmad Nabeel says
Helping people gain confidence is one of the best ways to help people succeed. It is a very nice feeling to provide support to this group of people. Sometimes you may be a turning point in the life of another person because you gave him a helping hand.