My pastor said once, “If you’re the smartest person in the room, you need to go to another room.” It’s true. We do what we see. Even Jesus said, “Verily I tell you, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does.” (John 5:19-20) What my pastor understands is that if we stay in the same room, we stay on the same level. When we change what we see, we change what we strive for.
I personally believe God offers us access to environments where people operate on levels higher than ours, not because we should waste time with jealousy and envy, but so that we can see living examples of what we should strive for, and then learn how to emulate them.
Recently, I’ve found myself in all sorts of spaces where others operate at a much higher level than I do. I listen to podcasts and read articles where people share their testimonies and both inspire and teach others. While listening, I often feel like why am I listening to this? I can’t do what he or she is doing. But I listen anyway. I take notes.
It’s interesting because two things have happened since I starting seeking new influences. Number one, the people who are still in the old space are shaken up. While they hated that I was a leader in the old space, they still don’t want me to leave. They see that I don’t yet operate on the next level (and work hard to consistently remind me of that fact) but are just as afraid that I will.
Secondly, switching rooms involves a lot of fear. When a person who was once the teacher becomes the student, his or her ignorance is on full display. It can feel like everyone is moving faster than they are. It can feel like they don’t deserve admittance. Doubt may set in… unbelievable doubt.
But none of this matters. It doesn’t matter if we feel good enough. It doesn’t matter what people say. It doesn’t matter how little we know when we first start. What matters is showing up. What matters is doing the work. What matters is that we continue to strive and press, no matter who we make uncomfortable in the process. Even if the person we make uncomfortable is the person staring at us in the mirror.