The following article is excerpted from Ignite CALM: Achieving Bliss in Your Work, a practical guide to exercising Creativity, Authenticity, Luminosity, and Mindfulness in order to attain more happiness and success at work (and throughout the rest of your life!).
Most of us never consider “being a beacon” as a priority in our professional lives. Applications for employment don’t usually include “glowing, shining, and gleaming.”
However, we do describe people in the workplace as “bright,” meaning they’re smart, confident and have it all together. We also refer to our wise elders as “luminaries,” or leaders in their fields who light the way for others. We describe our personalities as having a light side, which embodies positive traits and a dark side with more negative traits. We seem to naturally recognize a source of light within us. Even at summer camp we sang, “This little light of mine, I’m going to let it shine!”
Luminosity means celebrating the Light of your soul, when you radiate and demonstrate the best of who you are. If this idea is beyond your normal comfort zone, please bear with me and allow yourself to step into the glow for a while. I’m not referring to a specific religion or a particular system. I’m discussing the spirit within you; your essence. You may view this light as part of your soul, or—if you aren’t comfortable with religious views—reframe it as personality, psyche, mind, or a character trait. We are talking about the spark within you, beyond your body, that makes you uniquely who you are.
Lovely, luminous people already surround you in life. You may recognize luminosity in a favourite teacher, pastor, medical professional, coach, or even the young kid who bags your groceries. We’ve all met people who radiate light. Purely put, radiance attracts. We don’t always realize why we’re drawn to the Light of another, but we’re attracted. Magnetism and grace captivate us and pull us closer to the warm glow. Many people in the public eye have a strong internal light and proudly show it. This is often why they achieve success and acclaim in their professions.
Performers share their souls with us, expressed through dance, song, or prose. We connect with them heart-to-heart and feel transformed by their sincere giving. Think of how easy it is to have a crush on a celebrity or a musician. They sparkle and we get starry-eyed. We see and feel their Light. A person of Light moves us, connecting through feelings and emotion. Others may try to fake it, blinding us with spotlights, glitter and glam in hopes we won’t be able to tell the difference. But we yearn to see the true light within, not a cheap imitation. Look for the sparkle in their eyes, the Light of the soul.
Each of us enters this world with a soul glowing within us, and we can learn to intensify that brilliance. While some people seem to naturally shine from first breath, others are more subtle in their vibrancy. As we grow older, many of us attempt to hide our Light, fearing we won’t like the “real” person.
We call our daughter Raegan a “Rae of sunshine” because her joyful spirit showers everyone around her with bright love. Although physically and medically disabled, she excels in the shining department. Raegan doesn’t have an ego-mind, fear, control issues, or day-to-day worries to block her Light. She simply is, which allows her pure soul to glow.
Being luminous means proudly sharing the light of your soul, the goodness inside you. Each of us, no matter what our profession or background, can live an illuminating life and positively affect others by being kind, generous and loving. I have met radiating soldiers, nurses and auto mechanics. Your profession doesn’t matter: the key is how you go about doing something. Our attitudes, actions and how we live our lives dictate the shine factor. As the adage says, “You can choose to radiate or to drain.” Are you going to make the world a better place by shining as only you can, or will you spend your time and energy complaining about life? Most of us fall somewhere in between, depending on the day we’re having.
In our fast-paced, competitive society, we tend to get in our own way by constructing light blockers in the form of fear, frustration, projection, limitations and judgments.
» We fear to reveal ourselves because people may not respond the way we want. Conditioned to value others first, we diminish our own radiance.
» We’re frustrated when things don’t go our way, so we try to change who we are or force shifts on the people in our lives.
» We project ideas about what might happen onto daily situations, which leads to unneeded fear and worry.
» Limitations can be stepping stones, but not if we turn them into roadblocks. Our capacity to transcend is greater than we think.
» Judging ourselves, others and situations harshly leads to negative feelings that dim the Light. Aim for observation and understanding.
Too often we think we aren’t good enough in this world. We want to wait until we’re wildly successful and everyone loves us. THEN, we can safely shine our Light. Until that day we try to guess what people want and then we attempt to morph into that projection so we can make everyone happy. Ugh! Wouldn’t you rather be like Raegan, and simply shine?
Are we capable of taking down the blinds we’ve hung over the windows of our souls? Yes, we are! The Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education (CCARE) at the Stanford School of Medicine was founded in 2008 with “the explicit goal of promoting, supporting and conducting rigorous scientific studies of compassion and altruistic behaviour.” CCARE, under the direction of Dr. James Doty, Clinical Professor of Neurosurgery, has worked in partnership with a number of leading neuroscientists, behavioral scientists, geneticists and biomedical researchers to “closely examine the physiological and psychological correlates of compassion and altruism.” While medical science overall has made significant gains in treating diseases of the mind, significantly fewer explorations have been pursued to look at the positive qualities of the mind including empathy, altruism and compassion. CCARE believes these traits “are innate to us and lie at the very centrepiece of our common humanity. Our capacity to feel compassion has ensured the survival and thriving of our species over millennia.” What an exciting time to be living, we are starting to officially make the connection that being a beacon in our world is a benefit to not only ourselves but also to the world as a whole.
Illuminating people who make a difference
Take a moment to think about a few of your jobs and the coworkers who made a positive difference to you. Who was shining the way?
Do not think about the jerks who made your life miserable with game playing and passive aggressive tactics. Resist the urge to give power to these negative people from your past (or even your present). Move past the bad feelings and focus on positive people—the ones who uplift you. It might be a kind trainer whose encouraging words taught you great skills or a human resource person who had to deliver difficult news of a layoff, but did so in a compassionate way.
Your favourite person might be a coworker who always had time to smile and wish you well, a wise boss who helped you grow, or a maintenance guy who seemed to love helping others.
Think about why you admire these positive people. Is it their humour, intelligence or patience? Do they radiate a glow that inspired you? I think you’ll realize each of these folks made an effort to relate soul to soul with the people around them, and that made all the difference. People who shine their Light at work are energized, innovative and have more fun.
A pioneer of thought business pioneers was the late Stephen Covey, author of 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. Although he passed away in July of 2012, Stephen’s teachings still inspire millions of people worldwide. Dr. Covey wrote about transition people—those who make fundamental changes to the world. Although he doesn’t mention luminosity in this quote, he’s referring to people who are not afraid to shine their light to better their world:
A transition person is one who breaks the flow of bad—the negative traditions or harmful practices that get passed from generation to generation, or from situation to situation, whether in a family, a workplace, a community or wherever. Transition persons transcend their own needs and tap into the deepest, most noble impulses of human nature. In times of darkness, they are lights, not judges; models, not critics. In periods of discord, they are change catalysts, not victims; healers, not carriers. Today’s world needs more transition persons. Trust yourself to become one of the best and watch your influence grow.
It is within our personal power to be that “transition person,” a catalyst of positive change. The fact that you’re reading this book tells me you have the ability to recognize and appreciate Light when you see it in others. You also have the ability to project your own Light at work, at home and everywhere else in your world. When we bring the best of ourselves to the table, whether in the boardroom or the breakfast nook, we can create happier lives for ourselves and others. The next time you see a colleague struggle, share your experience, skills and radiance for the greater good of the team. Illumination leads to positive integration, leaving no one stranded in the dark.