Two days ago I heard part of a taped interview on the radio. The last sentence stood out, as almost no other I have encountered, as a recipe for fulfilling one’s potential.
“ …it always stops me in my tracks, because, as long as I remember that there is someone on the other side of the piece of equipment, the camera, who is watching me with expectation, and it can shape what they do next, I have to take what I do seriously every single day.”
That was Gwen Ifill, talking about being on one side of the television camera, aware that young girls were on the other side, absorbing a sense of what was possible for them.
I had to think about why I was so struck by this sentence.
Both adversity and privilege present us with reasons to be less than our best selves. Ms. Ifill reveals an antidote: A single, simple, completely reliable impetus.
Few people have an audience in the millions. But we all have an audience—many people who encounter us directly or indirectly. Encounters with us “shape what those people do next”, for the better or for the worse.
But the power in that sentence is not that it makes us think of our impact on others. The breakthrough in that sentence is this: Being conscious of the impact that we have on others’ aspirations and actions, we are inspired, no, compelled to raise our game, to take ourselves more seriously. And therefore, perhaps to…
Expand the goal
Offer that insight
Express that sentiment
Commit more selectively
Sign your work
Use better words
Value your time
Be even more visible
Raise, or lower, your voice
Learn publicly — and privately
Be powerfully generous
Thanks a million, Ms. Ifill
Photo Credit: Copyright Jane Pedrick, 2017