by Sami

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As I was driving out of our apartment complex the other day, I noticed some interesting parking configurations.

In one section, someone had parked at an angle, going over their line boundary. SO the person next to them overcompensated and went even futher outside their lines.This trend continued for two of the subsequent cars, soon leading to someone else’s parking space being unable to be parked in.

In the next section, I noticed another car that had veered over their side line. But instead of the next car followint suit, it tried to correct the situation and balanced the difference so they left enough room to get in the original car, but didn’t cross over their own boundary. Hence, the adjoining car barely had to adjust it’s trajectory and as a result, the fourth car in line was able to park normally.

I thought it painted an interesting picture of how we let others influence us. The parking situation succintly illustrates how just one can influence many, both positively and negatively.

In the first situation, when one person went outside the norm, it seemingly gave permission to tohers to do the same…and to a greater degree.

But in the second set of cars it amazed me how when one person made a slight correction and the next does the same, you can see the positive influence over a very short period of time.

I find this so true in my daily life. It may be something as simple as diet. I’ll say that I’m going to stop eating sugar, but then I find myself at someone’s birthday party and I’m handed a plate of cake and ice cream, so I eat just one bite.
But then since I ate a bite of ice cream, why not eat a piece of pizza that’s leftover since they didn’t have anything else for me to eat. Before you know it, I’ve rationalized my way to cheese biscuits!

Unfortunately, I’ve also seen this happen in much graver situations like sexual purity. I’ve mentored girls that said they weren’t going to kiss someone until they got married; but after they experienced a moment of weakness and broke that promise, they figured there wasn’t anything stopping them from going all the way.
It breaks my heart even more to meet girls who have been abused sexually and thus feel there is no longer a reason for them to have sexual boundaries.

When it comes to influence, the most important step you can take after the wrong step is the next step.
The way you respond to adversity or mistakes says a lot about who you are as a person. The biggest difference in this scenario is mistake vs. regret.

One of my mentors (and founders of Intentional Moms), Catherine Hickem, summarizes this so effectively when she explains, “WE will all make mistakes, but it is possible to live life without regret.”

So will you let your mistakes define you or will you be an influencer who lets your next step guide you and others back onto the right path?

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