When I started the Mercantile, I was really excited to design the truck, curate an interesting collection of home goods, and just have fun. Of course my mission has dramatically evolved over the past year. I've been trying to give back in every way possible. Whether it's through an opportunity for an artisan, learning a new skill through our Mercantile Made classes, or participating in local events. Lately, this has also meant being vulnerable about my own journey.
It's no secret that I've been on a winding path the past few months. I've found silver linings in long, dark, nights and have learned that anyone can have a positive or negative impact on someone's day through the smallest of actions. I've been given grace, love, and support over the past several months. I've learned that each of these is a ripple and begins to impact everyone around you. So here it is. Five ways you can make an impact on the world around you.
1. Realize that gossip is for the birds.
I'm guilty of gossip. We all are. It's human nature. But...why? I'm not a psychologist and won't pretend to be one here. My thoughts on gossip are this. We talk about others to fill some void in our own life. To make ourselves feel better, but it's superficial. Gossip masks our own insecurities with superiority. In reality, gossip is gross. It is one of the lowest forms of connection we can have with another person, because relationships built on negativity are toxic. I've tried to disengage from gossip or judging someone else over the past year because I've been on the other side. So, what can you do about it? Step away. Tell the clucking hens that you should spend your time together talking about something more worthwhile. Remind each other of a time in your lives where you felt misunderstood or had to endure something alone. What would you want someone to know about you in that moment? For me, it's that no one ever knows what someone is going through or what path they are on. Don't make the journey harder by being a barrier, be the shoulder they can lean on during the hard days.
2. Be vulnerable.
There is an interesting shift happening on social media. I've noticed the trend of becoming vulnerable in hopes to inspire others' vulnerability. Why is this important? Because when you open yourself up to people, you are REAL. You start to lean into the edges of yourself that are truly YOU. Growth happens there. Being open and honest is so hard, but I can think of 5 women in my social circle that have opened up to me or their social media following and found so much beauty there. They cracked a little window into their heart and amazing connections followed. I know vulnerability can be a difficult journey but I promise the people you find along the way are so worth the momentary discomfort you might feel at first.
3. Lift someone up.
It can be so simple. I recently stopped at Starbucks for my morning usual and ran into a sweet human that I hadn't talked to for a while. We caught up and during our time, she bought my drink. It was such a small act that made a huge impact on my day. That gesture was priceless and I carried that joy throughout my day and it started to ripple around me. Lifting someone up can be genuinely complimenting someone in person, dm'ing someone on Instagram when you feel connected to their story, or buying them their Trenta Mango Dragonfruit refresher because you can. (Thanks again Elizabeth. Your kindness is still radiating good energy!) Raise someone up - because we all win.
4. Learn something new.
Two years ago, I killed every plant that came my way. In fact, my love of plants really started when I almost killed my Fiddle Leaf Fig. I decided to do a ton of research on why it was losing leaves, turning brown, and side eyeing me with it's wilting demeanor. I brought that thing back from the brink of death and became hooked. I had learned something new. The spark of curiosity was ignited. I went from having one house plant to having twenty. How has that impacted others? When you learn something new by choice, you are most likely passionate about it. Passion is contagious. Whether you spread that joy about your new found love of X, Y, Z or you radiate energy when sharing your story, people will respond to your passion.
5. Pause, Reflect, Appreciate.
It is so easy to get caught up in the day to day grind. Before my life was abruptly flipped upside down, I was obliviously stuck in auto-pilot. I took everything for granted. My kids. My relationship. My family. All of it. It took my world falling apart to be truly thankful for what I have. I was so guilty of sucking everything out of my interactions with others that I didn't put anything back into those relationships. Silver lining moment - I learned gratitude. I decided to appreciate what I have. Today, I find myself pausing during a situation. I reflect on what I'm taking away from that experience and start pouring into it by (verbally) appreciating the moment I'm in and the people I'm with.
The impact we have on others is our legacy. People won't remember your job title but they will remember how you treated them. Start practicing gratitude and share that energy like wildfire.
XO - Taylor