I recently attended the 80th birthday party of a friend, Maria. It was a small gathering of women who had previously not met, women who were purposefully selected by the “birthday girl” herself. One of Maria’s favorite things to do is connect women to other women, so on her birthday it was fitting that she do just that!
As each woman arrived, Maria introduced her by highlighting her life and talents in a short paragraph. I don’t think I could have summed up what I had known about Maria as well as she summarized me and my life! As each woman was introduced, Maria seemed to be emphasizing what was different about each one of us. In true form, Maria didn’t talk about herself or her birthday, for that matter, she only spoke about each of her guests. She presented each of us as though the party was in our honor!
In keeping with the small group of just six women, a small 10 inch-round cake was on the dining room table. While it looked as though it was carefully frosted, there were no happy birthday messages or candles on the cake. There were, however, many little tea candles on the table swirling this way and that, surrounding the cake.
As she talked more about us, this time collectively, Maria carefully lit one candle and discarded the match. She then used the lighted candle to light all the others while thanking us for coming. Her comments this time about each of us were about what joins us together, our similarities. Maria wove her thoughts carefully to bring us together. Two of the women were artists and while I most certainly am not an artist, Maria talked about my writing and connected SUCCESSTROGEN to the artists who are living their dream. Another woman opened a boutique shop and again, Maria connected her entrepreneurialism with the two artists and again, with me. Not one of us spoke a word about ourselves, perhaps taking the lead from our role model, Maria. I had the sense that Maria was teaching us a lesson. She was lighting everyone’s candle with her words, making each woman “shine” in front of the others. Maria was not at all concerned about shining any light on herself.
And whether it was purposeful or not, I am not sure, but once all the candles were flickering, Maria placed the first candle back on the table with the others. That first candle was shining just as beautifully as all the others it had just lit. And just then I was reminded of a quote by James Keller…..
“A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle.”
Maria is other-centered. She has no need to highlight herself, yet surely her candle shines brightly as she illuminates others..her candle “loses nothing by lighting another”.
Women with high SUCCESSTROGEN levels are other-centered, they enjoy lighting other’s candles. They are not concerned with lighting their own. These women are confident. They understand that complimenting or giving credit to another does not takes away from themselves. They trust that their consistent behavior speaks for itself.
Yet many of us feel the need to light our own candle and make sure others see how bright it is. I was reminded of an important lesson at the most unusual birthday party. I am afraid I have considerable work to do in this area. Thank you, Maria!
And what about you?—have you lit anyone else’s candle lately??