Small Shift – Big Impact

When I showed up at the annual fund-raising gala for the Visual Art Exchange (a very cool non-profit in Raleigh), I had no idea I was about to transform my family room.

Every year the live auction plays out the same way: the first few pieces of art go for ridiculously low prices, the intensity slowly builds, and eventually folks get in the game and begin bidding enthusiastically – and competitively.

This year was no exception.

So when the fourth piece came out and the auctioneer dropped the opening bid to next to nothing, I raised my bid card thinking, “Let’s see if I can get some action going.”

My intention was simply to kick-start the bidding

But that’s not quite how it worked out.

I bid. Another person bid. I bid again, fully expecting the competition to ignite. Except it didn’t.  I’d just become the highest bidder.

vaepaintingThat painting was coming home with us.

Although we initially had no idea where to hang it, we found the perfect spot where an antique mirror had been living.

And then we got another surprise, even bigger than suddenly owning a new painting!

Not only does it look fantastic, but the family room is completely transformed … even though nothing else is different.

Just by changing one thing on one wall at the edge of the room, the entire look and feel has shifted in a fresh, positive way.

It’s a perfect example of how one small change can create a big impact, often in ways you’d never have predicted.

The same holds true in life.

Change one small thing and shifts happen.

You might discover you’ve just cleared out mental, emotional, or physical cobwebs and refreshed your life.  Or maybe you’ll fire up the momentum to get moving on whatever’s been keeping you stuck.

Either way, it starts with one small shift.

Here are five small shifts you can make to create a big difference in your life:

1.  Change your environment. Light candles for an ordinary dinner, re-arrange your furniture, or buy a few new throw pillows. Clean up visible clutter or re-organize a closet. Put a vase of fresh flowers on your desk at work or add a photo that makes your smile.

Or buy a new piece of art ;-).

Even a tiny change will shift the energy in your space. And the moment energy shifts, so do other things.

2.  Shake up the norm. Take a new route to work. Brush your teeth with your other hand. (Be sure to check for stray toothpaste.) If you’re normally quiet in meetings, speak up – or sit back and observe if your usual mode is highly participatory. Eat something new, listen to an unfamiliar music genre, or try an activity you’ve never done before.

Doing things differently stretches the edges of your comfort zone and lets you view the world (or a tiny piece of it) through a new lens. It’s impossible to predict where that will lead, but you can be certain it will go somewhere.

3.  Add more smiles for a double dose of impact.

The simple act of smiling makes you feel good and boosts your positive energy. And when you flash a smile at another person, you’ll get a smile right back, giving both of you a boost.

The more you smile, the more you open the door to unexpected and positive impact.

And on the topic of opening doors …

4.  Open to possibilities. Early in my career I worked with a guy who said, “I do something every day to keep the door cracked open for a miracle.” He then followed up with examples of smiling at a stranger in an elevator, buying a lottery ticket, or practicing random acts of kindness.

Just the act of opening the door to possibilities has an impact. Try it. You’ll experience what I mean!

5.  Take one itsy-bitsy step …towards something you want to create or accomplish.

What’s the tiniest step you can think of? That’s the step to take. You’ll feel good about getting started (or re-started), be inspired to take that next itsy-bitsy step, and next thing you know momentum will take hold.

Small shifts. Big impact.

And that’s what leads to transformation.

“If people sat outside and looked at the stars each night, I’ll bet they’d live a lot differently.” ~ Bill Watterson


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