COLUMN: Need a lift?

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Heading towards my plane seat, I was excited for my first of many keynote speaking event trips. Little did I know that this experience would be one that I would share in my presentations. Locating my seat, I proceeded to the feat of lifting my suitcase to place in my overhead bin. I should have checked it in with the agent prior to boarding.

Apparently, a three-day trip required on my part to pack all my essentials that would easily last me for two weeks. My lightweight carry-on became a 200-pound nuisance for my 5-foot frame to lift. Perhaps there is an Olympic sport that requires prior training to lift heavy objects over your head. However, I am no Olympian.

The first attempt to use my upper body to lift this boulder ended up in an impossible undertaking. Feeling the eyes of the other passengers on me as if they were watching a sitcom, my embarrassment began to show.

My second attempt failed as “I attempted to lift Mt. Olympus.” The line behind me came to a halt and I sensed the displeasure of the standing passengers. Finally, a kind elderly gentleman, stood up from his seat and arrived at my rescue. “May I assist in lifting your suitcase?” With a smile on his face and a willing spirit, he saved me from further ridicule and embarrassment.

Pure chivalry perhaps or pity, could have been the reason for this soul to choose to assist me in lifting my carry-on when I was unable. Since then, I have learned to pack lightly or check my bag at the counter. Nonetheless, his kindness was apparent, in my discouraging and challenging situation.

The term “lift” is defined as raising to a higher position or level. It also means to encourage or cheer. His act of assistance embodied the meaning of the word “lift.”

Since that day, I have tried to be more mindful of others and assist in lifting them up as best I can. Part of one’s personal growth journey includes using their resources, time, skills, talents, gifts to encourage and make a difference in the lives of others. Here are ways we can begin to “lift” other’s heavy suitcases today:

L – Live with intentionality. Make the choice to look for opportunities to lift others. Situations are all around us to help, but we must be aware of and consciously be on the lookout for them. At work, home, while shopping, driving, or any usual activity that seem so mundane and routine may turn in to wonderful opportunities to make a difference.

I – Improving oneself helps others. On one’s journey to personal growth, whether it is physically, mentally, spiritually, or emotionally, what we learn and improve upon will become beneficial to those around us. One’s strength becomes someone else’s strength in their weak moment. Sometimes helping lift a bag is not just about lifting a bag.

F – Follow your instincts/inner voice. Years ago, I was going through a challenging time. A family friend stopped by and dropped off groceries and words of encouragement. Little did she know, that was exactly what I needed at that time. It changed my life. I later asked her how she knew I was in need, and she simply said, “I just sensed that I needed to do this, and I carried it out.” If you have a sense of doing a good deed, do not ignore it. Carry it through. This can make a world of difference.

T – Turn negative situations into positive. Even the most embarrassing, uncomfortable, discouraging events can have hidden agendas for good. It helps to have a positive mindset that will help in moving past these challenges. Once this elderly gentleman assisted me with my suitcase, to my surprise he become my row companion. We had the most upLIFTing, encouraging, and enlightening conversations. It just so happened that he was a very experienced motivational speaker. For hours he shared tips and lessons on how to develop as a speaker. He not only lifted my suitcase, but my spirit and ambitions as well.

From this experience, I became determined to be a “suitcase” lifter for others. Not only did I arrive back home with a steadfast spirit to begin a strength training exercise routine to develop stronger muscles, but to also be a difference maker in the lives of others. Choosing to be a motivational speaker and life coach has given me wonderful opportunities to ask, “May I assist in lifting your ‘suitcase’?” Who knows, maybe you will see me at the next Olympics competing in the 49kg weightlifting class.

Diana Jaworski, F.O.C.U.S. Coaching Services, is a certified coach, teacher, trainer, and speaker with Maxwell Leadership Certified Team. Learn more about personal growth by visiting her website at www.dianajaworski.com.

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