I remember when Gwyneth Paltrow won the best actress Oscar for Shakespeare in Love many years ago. I was still an actress at the time, and I hung on her every word, half in awe, half jealous because she had stolen my speech, saying everything I was going to say when I won one day! Then cut to not long after, and it was all over the media that she had fallen into a depression. When she finally spoke out about it, she said something like winning the Oscar to her was shameful... like who was SHE to win this award when there are so many amazing, deserving artists out there? Like who is SHE to be placed among those greats? I didn't get it.
But today, I got it. Today, I was honored and privileged enough to be featured among some of the greatest teachers, leaders, and inspirers in the world. This is the first time I have ever even been close to being in the same realm as these life-changers. I should have been happy... no, thrilled... ecstatic! I should have been excited! But instead of cheering, I cried. I fell into a dark hole, and couldn't climb out of it. I felt ashamed and embarrassed. All I could think about was that I am in no way like these people, that I am such a sham because they are all incredible leaders, that they are all published and successful, living the life they teach about. And here I am, running out of money and having no publisher yet for my book. All I could think about was that people were going to laugh at me when they saw me surrounded by these greats, and that when it was posted on my social media, people were going to think that I was just trying to show off. All I could think about was that I'm not like these teachers at all, that I am a sham. Why in the hell would anyone put me in their caliber? I think I knew now how Gwyneth felt.
I remember a vision board I made four years ago. It had a picture of me surrounded by people such as Wayne Dyer, Michael Beckwith, and Oprah. When I made that board, I must have believed that somehow I could one day be a teacher and inspirer like them. That I had things to say and ways to teach that could inspire people to see the beauty in themselves, to see the power they have to make choices to change their lives. But today, when my vision board became reality, I felt like shit.
I took a look at the page and saw myself amidst a sea of people I have been reading, studying, learning from, inspired by, for many many years. I just looked at it. Looked at it like I had looked at my vision board. The words, "You're not one of them! You're not one of them! You're not one of them!" kept taunting me in my head. I eventually chose to stop listening to the words. They could keep going if they wanted, but I wasn't going to believe them. I just looked. After a few finally silent moments of just being there in the present, looking at it in the present, something shifted. Peace and calmness wafted over me as I realized, I AM one of them.
In fact, we are ALL one of them. Just because someone is well-known, has books, has tours, has followers, does not mean they are any more of a teacher than you are, or than I am. Every single person is a teacher. Every single interaction we have has the power to change a life and inspire. These "great gurus" are no more special than any of you. They are not better than, or separate from. And I would bet they would be the first ones to tell you this. Yes, we are all teachers. We all inspire. Today, and always, remember that you ARE one of them. You teach, you lead, you inspire, you change lives... whether you get any notoriety for it or not.