There is a fabulous article in the Fin Review that I read just recently called “100 Women of Influence.” Accompanied by a list of women who are trailblazing their way through life. Those who have turned trauma into purpose (Rosie Batty) and others who are making a difference in social enterprise, the arts, business and so on. Women who are true influencers not because of how many Insta followers they have but because of their work, their stories, their lives. Making an impact.
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about influence and making a difference. Not only am I inspired by women such as those that appeared on this list, I am in awe of them. They are united in the qualities that they share – resilience, commitment, effort. Amazing, strong, brave women who seek and who find. You could never take a single thing away from people who are making what they do matter, where the sky really is their limit. But it also make me think that living your best life does not mean you have to stand out from rest. Success should not be defined by whether you get noticed or not. Success itself should not be defined because it is subjective anyway.
Social media has created this idealism that everyone around us is living a life of purpose. Surrounded by start-ups, innovators, disruptors and game changers. Those who are writing books, teaching yoga, winning Masterchef, producing podcasts. Clean eating, smoothie drinking, parenting perfectly with heavily curated images of the perfect, shiny life. It’s easy to feel like you don’t count when those around you seem to be doing things that do count.
But what of those who are at peace with living a life of simplicity, even if on some days it is simplicity and chaos in equal measure. Life can sometimes be productive and empowering but occasionally unremarkable. What of those who are going about their lives, working, studying, raising families, living alone, maybe going to Pilates or maybe not because they are too tired. In my work I meet good, decent, kind and hard-working people but they despair because they don’t feel as though the work that they do is important. A life is not less significant if it is embraced with quiet mediocrity but still with the things that matter. By this I don’t mean being actively disengaged and contributing nothing, but rather the contributions you make are perhaps closer to home, not the least bit news worthy or profound. We are living within a culture of Instagram and reality stars, but just because you don’t stand out, does not mean you have failed. There is joy to be found in the ordinary when influencing your personal tribe, your primary circle is what is important. Where love matters more than likes.
Not everyone can start their own business.
Not everyone can write a book
Not everyone can be a start-up.
Not everyone can quit their job and go off the grid.
Not everyone can change the world.
Lucky we have those who can but it’s okay for those who can’t.
I am inspired by many people but let’s also acknowledge the mundane. Where there is still purpose but purpose with obscurity. Where you don’t have to question if what you are doing is enough because for some it is enough to just be and where excellence can be measured by your personal qualities.
An ordinary life can still be a life lived well.