Deb Sofield


Be a lamp – or a lifeboat – or a ladder

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Be a lamp – a lifeboat – or a ladder

I came across this saying a while back and it made me stop and think about who in our lives have been there as a lamp, a lifeboat, or a ladder.

I’m sure for most of us it would be easy to choose someone who is a lamp in our life – someone who believed we’d come into our own one-day and be the person we were born to be. That one person, who against all odds of human reasoning liked us, loved us and believed in us and today we reflect their light as we go about our daily business.

I wish I could say it is always family that is the lamp, but you and I know that many times it’s not and although that is hard – let me remind you that you can still be okay.

Odd I know since family is to be the rock wall of support for most of us – maybe those were the good old days. But with life’s stress on families with either finance, troubled relatives or relations, health issues, you name it – it cuts off the light to those it should burn bright for.

So, what I see time and time again is that lamp – the light – the candle is simply a true friend, a teacher, a coach, or even a friend of the family… family friends who can see into the darkness of the family dysfunction and hold a candle to light the way for one of the kids to find their path.

Oh, to be a lamp…a light on the path of life to help… how about you? May I encourage you today to dust off your lamp, trim the wick, add the oil, and burn brightly because for someone out there you may be the only light they see.

You have choices in today’s topic you can a lamp, a lifeboat, or a ladder…

Let me talk about being a lifeboat.

I love the water, so the concept of a lifeboat speaks to me. As I speak to audiences from Carolina to California from the Middle East to Asia the stories are all the same. At some point in life many people have simply needed a lifeboat. A safe place to drag yourself into and hold on till the storm passes.

In the safety of the boat, we can survive being buoyed by the waves of life because we can hold firm to the sides of the boat and pray we’re not tossed overboard. Yes, I like the concept of a lifeboat – because no matter where you are in life I want you to know that for many you have an option for safety if you’ll reach out and grab hold and then hold on tightly till the storm passes.

Many a sailor prayed for a red sky at night (sailors delight) vs. the red sky at morn (sailors forlorn) to get through the storm.

I hear stories of those who lay their head down at night with little to no hope for tomorrow and yet the sun comes up and in the night the waves of life have stilled, and they can finally see over the bow to scout the safety of the shore and with renewed strength they will row towards another day.

Ah to be a lifeboat. A place of refuge and safety…

To be a lifeboat is different than a lamp – because a lifeboat holds you and you can choose to get in or stay out…with a lifeboat you make the decision.

Life is about hard choices – I wish it were easier, but we know that it’s not…but the choices you make will chart your course – it’s always my prayer that those I work with find the safety of the shore and are protected from the rocks.

A ladder. I don’t know about you, but I am not fond of heights – when I moved into my new home I gave away my rickety ladder to my yardman and bought a nice sturdy step latter with side rails.

At my old place I had two giant water oaks in my front yard they made a mess… so once a year I would have to get my brothers 18-foot slide ladder and clean the gutters on the front of the house.

I can remember being up near the top of the ladder cleaning with one gloved hand in the gutter and weaving my arm through the ladder while holding the gutter to steady myself for dear life.

I learned to clean the gutters early on a Sat. morning because I noticed if I did it in the afternoon all my friends would drive by my house would see me up there and honk the horn to say hi and it scared me every time and made me jump a bit – rattled my ladder and I was worried I’d fall. Finally, I got a leaf blower with a long wand so my wonderful yardman could blow out the leaves from the rooftop and we’d just clean up the mess from the plant beds below.

Sufficient to say I’m not a big fan of ladders but I do like the concept of climbing the ladder for success. And not just for myself but for my friends. Many years ago, I made the decision to surround myself with people who were on a life path for success in their personal and professional lives… people who were positive, joyful, loving, kind and caring. People who understand the concept of helping other up the ladder and not pulling up the ladder once they had reached the top.

I see that happen so much in the business and political world. Someone is helped up a ladder to great success and instead of reaching down to help another climb they pull the ladder up so they will be the only one… the woman on a national board, the only man on a nonprofit board, the only – you can fill in the blank.

If you were to ask me – I’d say you do damage when you play those games. A ladder is to help climb – everyone should get the chance to see if they can climb (if they can’t at least the option was there) to help other be successful we need to help them climb up – not hold them down or keep them off altogether.

How about you – can you think of those you’ve helped climbed the ladder… have you had to push or pull someone up so they too can see the view? I hope so – I hope your arms hurt and your muscles are strong with all you’ve done to help other climb.

Friends we all have choices in life – you can be a lamp, a lifeboat, or a ladder. And what is so great about this concept is that – You get to choose which one – You get to make the decision on what your legacy will be – You get to make your corner of the world a better place…

You can be a lamp, a lifeboat, or a ladder or all 3. Wow… you have a decision to make… ah friend, choose wisely.

Deb Sofield

Deb Sofield is a Keynote Speaker, Author of the book, Speak without Fear – Rock Star Presentation Skills to get People to Hear What You Say and Encouragement For Your Life ~ Tough Love Memos to Help You Fight Your Battles and Change the World, Radio Talk Show Host in the Salem Network, Podcaster and President of her own Executive Speech Coaching Co., which trains women and men for success in speaking, crisis communications, presentation skills, media and message development in the U.S. and abroad.

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