In the story of your life, certain characters have been catalysts for major plot twists and turns.
These are the people who made you see things differently and challenged the assumptions you have about yourself or the world. They have shown you another path that you weren’t aware existed or didn’t believe you deserved. Most people can name a handful of influencers who have helped mold who they are today. Whether in one crucial moment or over a period of years, they have played pivotal roles in shaping your view of life.
1. The Safety Net
When you need them, they are in one hundred percent. If you break down, they leap into action to help you put the pieces back together. Their support helps you push ahead into uncharted territory. When it all falls apart, they are there to prop you up and dust you off. You can lean on them and feel confident your heart is protected.
2. The Drill Sergeant
This person is not a warm and fuzzy. On the contrary, they’re demanding, tough and tell it like it is. However, they have your best interest in mind and it motivates you to dig deep and do more than you think is possible. Their stern temperament leads you to achieve more and to a better place than when they originally met you.
3. The Cheerleader
An unlimited source of encouragement, this person’s dedication has helped carry you through tough times. They see gifts and qualities in you that you don’t see in yourself. They’re like a magical mirror, reflecting only your optimal features. When you view yourself through their eyes, you become the best version of yourself. When you need a lift or a laugh, they’re the person you call.
4. The Betrayer
Whether they lied, cheated or threw you under the bus, they temporarily shattered your trust. While your experience was painful, it taught you how to endure and conquer adversity. You also learned the power of forgiveness and the importance of letting go and moving on. You are and will continue to be better for the lesson.
5. The True Believer
“You can do this” is the message you receive from this person, either repeatedly or in a single life-changing remark. It may have been a childhood teacher who knew you could do something you thought was hopelessly beyond your capabilities, or a mentor who told you to simply “close your eyes and jump.” You will never forget the person who knew, even before you, you could do it!
6. The Doubter
If you have one of these kinds of people in your life, their naysaying may drive you to thrive and prove them wrong. Thank them for their ability to instill the motivation you need to succeed.
7. The Inspiration
Perhaps it is an adventurous friend who climbs mountains, literally or figuratively. Maybe a boss who personifies great leadership as you start your career, or someone you watched leave the comfort of a steady paycheck to start a business, sparking your own entrepreneurial vision. It could even be an individual you admired from a distance whose example spurred you to set higher expectations for yourself. This person gave you the courage to take bold action in pursuit of your dream.
One way or another, we are all better for the people who have touched our lives. It’s up to all of us to pay it forward. What kind of influence are you?
You may also like Take a Moment to Make Your World Better. For more of Diane’s etiquette tips read her posts on Inc., subscribe to her articles on The Huffington Post, “like” The Protocol School of Texas on Facebook, and follow her on Pinterest, Instagram and Twitter. Order Diane’s forthcoming book, Modern Etiquette for a Better Life here.