In retrospect, it was pretty cocky: I’d quickly gotten used to the spiritually primitive idea that I’d “made it.” Speaking to a few thousand people about mind-body medicine on the same bill as my mentor Deepak Chopra can do that to ya. So when “only” 40 people attended my next event in NYC, I took it pretty hard.
I often confided in my Kabbalah teacher who would always set me straight with a small observation or a gentle reminder. Though I don’t think it was ever his main intention, he’d pierce my cool NYC shields to a point where they and I would regularly melt into a puddle of goo on the floor on my side of his desk. I wondered if this was normal and why I saw no mops nearby; no glue to put others or myself back into one less gelatinous piece of flesh. He had a way to always got me out of my head and into my heart. Of course I didn’t know it at the time, but his secret I now know fully: when gazed at through the eyes of unconditional love, anything is possible. He’d simply notice me without any judgment, like a puppy or a newborn but without the drool, and my mind could go blank. All my fears, for the moment at least, became laughable, and so it was with my ego as well.
He looked at me and quietly called me on my stuff: “You know, if you’re really good, you could turn 40 into 400. Or 4000.”
He continued, “Marketing wise, it’s not about the people in your room; it’s about the 10 people they’re going to tell about you, and perhaps those 10 tell another 10, but that’s not going to happen if you’re showing any signs of disappointment that there are ‘only’ 40 people in there.”
It reminded me of a friend who saw the band, The Police, at a bar in Poughkeepsie NY in the late 1970s. He said there were only 8 people in the bar—including the 3 bartenders!!! But what he said about their performance has stayed with me to this day. They didn’t “Act as if” as many posit to do (which is basically lying to the Universe and to yourself thus creating even more misalignment from your higher self). The members of The Police knew at their core how good they were and therefore played to those 8 people as if they were 80,000 at the Super Bowl halftime show. They showed no signs of disappointment at the size of the crowd, or lack thereof.
I share this because I know many of you judge your success by the reactions of the people you most easily see. But just like George Bailey in, ‘It’s a Wonderful Life,’ all of us touch so many lives it’s hard to even comprehend. How do you want that touch to be felt? Think about that the next time “only a few” people attend your event or buy your book or CD. Be your best self no matter what the situation, and let go of the attachment to what comes back, when, or how. We can only control who we are and what we do or say anyway! WWYS? (What would Yehuda say?)