The Goal isn't Fame, it's Influence

I lead an adventure club for fourth and fifth grade girls. A few years ago, we asked one of our groups about their future plans. Some of the girls wanted to be things like teachers or doctors, but the overwhelming majority wanted to be something else: Famous. We’ve all heard the stories about how being famous isn’t all it’s cracked up to be—there’s the lack of privacy and the ongoing pressure to perform well, and the unwritten expectation that if you’re famous you also have a responsibility to be a good influence.

Famous icons like Selena Gomez, Demi Lovato, Justin Bieber, and Britney Spears have all had major and total public meltdowns. In public interviews, they often lament the crushing pressure fame has placed on them.

In an interview on The Today Show in October of 2017, Selena Gomez said: “You’re isolated. You’re being looked at. You’re being judged. I’m always trying to be nice.” She continued, “I want to be great. That’s genuinely who I am, deep down. But it just seemed pointless.” And in 2015, Justin Bieber said, “I was close to letting fame destroy me.” For years, musician and actress Demi Lovato has battled alcohol and drug addiction, self harm, and eating disorders, in addition to trying to manage Bipolar Disorder. When you’re famous, private battles happen on the public stage. She said, “I get mad. I get sad. I have all those emotions. But I just like to keep them to myself. I don't think my fans need to be bothered with if I'm mad or sad about something. I should just be concerned that they are keeping up with my music or I'm making them happy with my show.”

Regarding Britney Spears’s fame, an article in Vice.com said, “She didn't crumble in isolation or simply of her own volition; she overdosed on fame, and we were complicit in that. We made her the single most-watched human being on the planet and then, gleefully, watched as she nearly died from overexposure. We celebrated her ascent to celebrity and then punished her for attaining the very perfection we demand.”


Who wants to be famous if it means meltdown in any form you look at it?

Influence used to mean something. Influence, according to subject matter expert Dr. Karen Keller , is knowing yourself. “The world’s most influential people don’t merely change other’s behavior; they shift their mindsets.”

Here are some examples:

  • In 1529, Sir John Harrington invented the flush toilet, something nearly everyone in the first world uses today. But before he did that, he was a writer who had a penchant for offending Queen Elizabeth I. We don’t remember him, but if it weren’t for him, maybe we’d all be covering our poo with pine straw like a common cat.

  • Aristarchus was the first person to postulate that the earth revolved around the sun, a full 1700 years before Copernicus made his ideas famous.

  • Sir Joseph Lister was a pioneer in antiseptic surgery. In fact, he’s the reason your surgeon washes his hands before and after contact with you and wears gloves during examinations.

  • Shirley Chisholm paved the way for women in politics, becoming the first African American woman to serve in Congress and make a bid for the Presidency.

  • Most people have heard of Amelia Earhart, but did you know Lillian Bland was the first woman to design, build, and fly an airplane?

  • And while everyone has heard of Neil Armstrong, it was Margaret Hamilton who designed the software that navigated the Apollo spacecraft that took him to the moon. Fun fact: she coined the term “software engineering,” a title that’s usually held by men.

The lesson:

We don’t have to be famous to do great things. There’s a whole bunch of people you’ve probably never heard of who were incredibly influential. Influence and fame aren’t the same thing. Fame can make a person influential, but fame doesn’t necessarily follow influence. When we say we want fame, what we’re really saying is that we want to be recognized for our accomplishments, to be given a pat on the back for all the hard work, for the difference we’ve made. And sure, a pat on the back, more followers on Instagram, and more money would be nice. But what if the impact we make IS all the reinforcement we really need? You probably never heard of John Harrington, but just because you’ve never heard of him doesn’t make his contribution any less important. I encourage you to thank him as you take care of your daily business today.

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There's No Place Like Home: Discovering Your Heart's Desire

‘I cannot understand why you should wish to leave this beautiful country and go back to the dry, gray place you call Kansas.’

’That is because you have no brains,’ answered the girl. ‘No matter how dreary and gray our homes are, we people of flesh and blood would rather live there than in any other country, be it ever so beautiful. There is no place like home.’

The Scarecrow sighed.
— The Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum

When I was in college in Indiana, I would sometimes come back home to Georgia on an airplane. The first such trip was right before Thanksgiving in the fall of 1992. I hadn’t been home since I left in early August, and although I loved college, I was also homesick—for a hot bath in a clean house, a hot meal cooked by my mom, and a hot date with my far-away, long distance boyfriend. As the plane descended over Atlanta, I first saw the pine trees, green towers dotting the foothills and then the city, and even before my feet touched the ground, I was instantly transported back to this place I loved.

Early April is a beautiful time to be home. The cherry blossoms and dogwoods are blooming, and I noticed little buds peeping out on all the other trees. Lawn mowers are beginning to buzz, and a few people have begun pressure washing their driveways and decks. Life is exploding all around us, and this week, we get to appreciate it. All of it.

In The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, Scarecrow couldn’t understand why Dorothy would want to go back to a place that was dry and gray. He didn’t understand the places we love are never really about the places themselves. They are always about the people. Dorothy could overlook the deficiencies in Kansas because as they say “love covers over a multitude of sins,” be they agricultural or otherwise. (In Georgia this week, I’m overlooking the billowing clouds of yellow pollen swirling around me.)

Dorothy: Oh, will you help me? Can you help me?
Glinda: You don't need to be helped any longer. You've always had the power to go back to Kansas.
Dorothy: I have?
Scarecrow: Then why didn't you tell her before?
Glinda: She wouldn't have believed me. She had to learn it for herself.
Scarecrow: What have you learned, Dorothy?
Dorothy: Well, I—I think that it, that it wasn't enough just to want to see Uncle Henry and Auntie Em — and it's that — if I ever go looking for my heart's desire again, I won't look any further than my own backyard. Because if it isn't there, I never really lost it to begin with! Is that right?
Glinda: That's all it is!
Scarecrow: But that's so easy! I should've thought of it for you -
Tin Man: I should have felt it in my heart -
Glinda: No, she had to find it out for herself. Now those magic slippers will take you home in two seconds!
Dorothy: Oh! Toto too?
Glinda: Toto too.
Dorothy: Now?
Glinda: Whenever you wish.
Glinda: Then close your eyes and tap your heels together three times. And think to yourself, 'There's no place like home'.

It seems too easy, doesn’t it? Like the thing we really want couldn’t possibly be right in front of us. But what if it is? What if your peaceful, purposeful life is right here?

We live in an amazing time in history, in a world that’s more connected than it’s ever been before. I can talk to my sister-in-law in China instantly any time I want. And for free! My teenage son is in California (without parents!), but I can track him on my iPhone, and my husband is getting his doctorate in Ministry (he’s such a smarty pants!) right from his office desk.

It’s fun to go away and see new things. Truly, there is no substitute for experience, but never for one second think that your heart’s desire must be somewhere out there. It might be right in your own backyard.

For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
— Matthew 6:21

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Mission Driven Monday--Amber Humphries

Meet Amber Humphries!

The motto at Mission Driven Woman is "Follow your mission, not the madness." It's a joy to meet someone who is fully embracing her mission, and Amber's is "Peaceful Home, Adventurous Life." She is an entrepreneur, blogger, speaker, and singer/songwriter. Amber’s many talents have led her to embrace saying "no" to fear (she's a city girl turned mountain woman) and “yes” to inspiring and empowering women in all stages of life transition. Amber is thoughtful and wise. One of my favorite parts of this conversation was when we talked about success and what that looks like during different moments in our lives. Also, I love the idea of warring opposites, and it seems to be a common theme among the women I interview: Big and Small, Open and Closed, More and Less.

People often say to Amber, “Wow! You’re living your dream life!”

Her response—”Why aren’t YOU living your dream life?”

Fun fact: Amber and her husband composed our Forever We theme song, and Amber sings the lead vocals. You can listen to the song here.

Important Links from this Episode:

blog http://www.citymousemountainhouse.cominsta @citymousemountainhouse
music http://www.jaredandambermusic.cominsta @jaredandamber
health journey http://www.amberhumphries.cominsta @amberhumphries
lipstick: https://www.beautycounter.com/product/beautycounter-red

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