How to Let Others Shine

There is an incredibly quick way to wake up from an overdose of self-importance: Helping others shine.

However, it’s easy to get caught up in the bubble of our self-sabotage when we think…

  • That others are always thinking about and watching you. (Hint: They’re probably thinking you’re thinking about them!)
  • We can do it all on our own.
  • Asking for help is a sign of weakness.
  • [insert your own ludicrous reason here]

When we become hyper focused on these merry-go-round thoughts, we forget about the incredible gifts others have. We also miss out on opportunities for creating great things when we join forces with others.

Acknowledging the greatness in others isn’t just about opportunity; it makes us feel good. And as an added bonus, it helps remind us of our own greatness.

There are more reasons that helping others shine benefits ourselves and the world. I’ve found seven of them:

1. It feels good to share the stage.

Life isn’t a solo performance. At best, life is a series of beautifully intertwined interactions and relationships. After all, it’s by relating to others that we know ourselves. By sharing the stage and witnessing the talents of others, we become more aware of our own talents.

Sharing the stage also helps us become more honest about the areas where we’re not the greatest, and that it’s okay not to be. We all have our own areas of mastery, and areas of lack, and embracing that helps ourselves and others shine.

2. It’s more fun when you share.

Have you ever noticed as soon as you see a hilarious YouTube video you immediately want to share it? Or that when you see a funny part in a movie, you look at the person you’re watching it with?

Happiness is magnified when shared. Just as the brightness of our individual lights is greater when joined with others.

3. Just because you CAN, doesn’t mean you should.

I could learn how to become good at storytelling, creating business systems, and putting together raving events. But there are others that are much better at those things than I am. So why not send people their way instead and give them the spotlight?

I see this happen all the time with people trying to get their websites set up. Just because you can learn HTML and Photoshop doesn’t mean you should. Why not let someone else shine that can share their talents?

4. Potential explodes when talents are synchronized.

There is a lot of truth to the saying “We’re greater together than apart.” The sum of our talents is greater than each of our individual parts.

Partnering and working together doesn’t take anything away from the value that you have to offer; it compliments and amplifies it. Each of our gifts are like unique gemstones: when artfully arranged their beauty increases.

5. Giving is contagious.

Conventional forms of giving might include donating money and volunteering time or resources. These methods of giving are great, but when we see these as the only possibilities, we overlook an incredibly powerful way to give: by acknowledgment.

Acknowledging and encouraging others is the cheapest and possibly the most impactful way to give to others. The people in my experience that stand out the most are those that have encouraged me and acknowledged the gifts that I have.

Plus, giving is viral. Think of the last time someone gave you something meaningful (physical or otherwise). Didn’t it inspire you to give to others too?

6. Helping others shine feels good.

It feels good to get outside of your recurrent brain patterns about your unimportant problems. When you acknowledge the brilliance in others it’s nearly impossible to not feel good.

Appreciation is the fastest route to feeling good and remembering what really matters.

7. Your light burns brighter the more you ignite the fire of others.

It seems paradoxical, right? You would think the more you focus on the greatness in others, the less you have for yourself. But the opposite is true. The more you use your flame to spark a fire in others, the more that appreciation is reciprocated. When you shine a light on the brilliance of others, that light and acknowledgment is often reflected back to you. The implications of paying it forward are vast.

The more you give, the more you become a conduit of illumination. You plug your heart’s spark plug into something bigger than you.

So, in the spirit of illuminating, there are a few people I would like to acknowledge that have helped me shine brighter:

  • Dave Navarro. An incredibly smart guy that will challenge you to play a much bigger game. His training has helped me grow my business tremendously.
  • Everett Bogue. His creativity inspires me to push the envelope of what I think I’m capable of. Plus, he blogs about zombies.
  • Danielle LaPorte. She fueled my fire to realize the power of encouragement.
  • Adam Baker. His level of dedication and incredible spirit of giving is inspiring to me.
  • Clay Collins. On several occasions, I’ve called Clay “The James Brown of Internet Marketing.” He has more soul and crazy smarts than anyone I know when it comes to trading your gifts for money.

There are many, many other people that have helped me shine. Thank you.

Now, over to you my beautiful and talented readers:

Who’s a person you’d like to acknowledge? Don’t let another day go by without acknowledging someone that needs to know their gifts are appreciated.

Share in the comments and link them here if you dare. Do it anonymously if that’s what it takes.

photo courtesy of nishanthjois

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Comment & Add Your Voice

Dino Dogan January 25, 2011 at 3:41 pm

A pretty smart guy once said “Only a life lived in the service to others is worth living.” …what was his name? Oh yeah.. Albert Einstein.

Thnx for highlighting few people on No 7..Ive need a good read :-)


Ev`Yan January 25, 2011 at 3:47 pm

You help me shine, darling.

Thank you for that. :]


Mark Robertson January 25, 2011 at 3:50 pm

“Just because you can learn HTML and Photoshop doesn’t mean you should. Why not let someone else shine that can share their talents?”

Thank you! I teach media production, and have trouble delegating. Thanking for reminding me that my job is to set the infrastructure for the architecture of their imagination. This is why it do it, afterall. I am reminded that,

(A) The universe is large and wondrous
(B) I’m not the center

And I’m far better at storytelling than mastering the dodge-tool =)


J. Stratton-Crawley January 25, 2011 at 4:59 pm

I am especially indebted to many close friends of mine who are now dead, like Kahlil Gibran, Alan Watts, Krishnamurti, Socrates, Carl Sagan, Nietzsche … the list goes on.

I know they never really blogged, and I know some of them would laugh or scoff at the whole “make money by teaching others to make money by teaching others to make money by…,etc. ad nauseum” circle-jerk, but they taught me all I know and I love them deeply. I think about them often and follow some of them on Twitter (they are now undead cyborgs).

I really love paidtoexist2.loc and I think what you young internet lifestyle marketers are doing is great, even though it’s not really entrepreneurship, it’s more like a decentralized anarchist commune.

My only hope is that we’ll get over this self imposed hurdle of pretending to be happy capitalists and actually change the world someday soon. Till then! FIRST..!!!



Boris - all i do is love January 25, 2011 at 10:58 pm

Hey James,

bingo -spot on.. nice post :)

re changing the world:
“when we change the way we look at things (the world), the things we look at change”
Max Planck, father of Quantum Theory

i don’t mean things just appear different or are portrayed in another light…
I mean they CHANGE

We get caught up in trying to change the world, when all we have to do is change ourselves…

This is a recent realisation for me, and it has changed EVERYTHING

Keep it up guys,

Charlie Gilkey January 25, 2011 at 5:24 pm

Great post, J – and thanks for reminding us. To be honest, I’m always hesitant to share a “shine list” because I forget key people and yet it makes no sense to not let the many shine because I’ll forget a few.

I have a follow-up to this that I’m percolating – maybe it’ll hit on PF so I can get more people to read this.


A r r i a n e January 25, 2011 at 5:41 pm

Thank you so much for this! I am actually working right now with a couple of people who are branding and starting up a coworking space here in Manila, and we were just discussing about what kind of people we want to attract and target.

We came to the conclusion that yes, we might want to attract the amazingly creative or ferociously entrepreneurial kind — but we don’t want those who are so focused on themselves and building their empires that they forget the magic of collaboration. A great coworking space is, after all, a place where you can form a community and work alongside other amazing people. :)


Kristina January 25, 2011 at 7:48 pm

Ew, this post struck home. I am a project whore. I let my to-do list grow and grow, and work endless hours because I trust no one to help. If I am being honest, it is because I fear they won’t do as good of a job as me.

This post really had me look inside myself and ask, “Why am I so resistant to accept help? Why do I hog all the responsibility?” Then I had an ah-ha moment…

Going up in a single parent household, my mother would often say, “See, we don’t need anyone. We don’t need to depend on anyone!” as she was figuring out how to fix the washing machine or patch up a hole in the wall.

I grew up feeling proud to be independent. I have even strived to be the independent worker bee. However, there is a key word in my mother’s old declarations…we. “We don’t need anyone…” We had each other. Even if I could only hold the flashlight while she wedge behind the washer, we were a team.

There are more ‘teams’ to be had. I will commit to giving others the opportunity to be influential in my life so I can appreciate them…as I do my mother.


Jackie Lee January 27, 2011 at 10:07 am

phew… your comment brought tears to my eyes. In my household with my mom our song was “you and me against the world”. I was also raised with the we can do it ourselves attitude and I recently have come to realize my growth both personally and in business has been stunted by holding on to this idea that no longer serves me. Thank you for being brave enough to say this out loud so I could see it for myself. :)

Lisa January 25, 2011 at 9:08 pm

I grew up being fiercely independent – and was encouraged to be all that ~I~ could be. While teamwork was something we did to try and include others, it wasn’t about the teams. Individual achievement ruled. That was how you got into college, how you got the best job, how you got the best friends and partners. Now that I have children of my own, I have a hard time asking for help. I still believe that doing it yourself yields the best results. But, I am seeing that I just don’t have the time to do it all, and as a result, everything is suffering. This post today really hit home.

So, to my husband who does more than his fair share of parenting and home maintenance, I say a huge THANK YOU. You are the reason this is all still working out. You are the rock on which this is all built. Even if we run off to farm goats, you’ll still be the foundation of our family. You are content to let me shine, and I hope you know how proud I am of you – for all that you do.


Edgar January 25, 2011 at 9:38 pm

“Giving is contagious” – you’re absolutely right.

And as you said, by simply “acknowledging and encouraging others” you can make a huge impact on the other person. — You make the other person feel great. You motivate. And it costs you nothing.

A simple, but powerful way to give.

Great post Jonathan!


Laure January 26, 2011 at 5:35 am

I love it. Thanks for sharing.
It’s so important to Shine our own Brilliance and to enable others to do so too.
Best regards,


Meenu January 26, 2011 at 10:46 am

I looooooove this post Jonathan. Actually I love all your posts but this one in particular. I have always believed in this philosophy. It goes along the same lines of treating others as you would want to be treated.
For me It’s my husband first and foremost who helps me shine on a daily basis. Then it’s kind and generous people like you who are so very helpful and inspiring.

Thankyou so much


Marnied January 26, 2011 at 11:41 am

It took me a couple of years online to realize that I wasn’t going to be happy with my “internet life” until I took the focus off of myself.


Jon Strocel January 26, 2011 at 12:12 pm

Well said. Acknowledging others is one of the best ways to help others reach their full potential. It makes everyone feel great. I’m off to thank someone here at work publicly who fixed a very tough problem this morning.


Brett Henley January 27, 2011 at 12:12 pm

Two people come to mind immediately:

My daughter. My better half and the love of my life.

Both keep me grounded, honest, focused and well loved.

Love this post like it was my own, so thank you.


Alicia January 27, 2011 at 9:20 pm

Incredible post and so absolutely true. Thank you for so eloquently putting in words something that we should remind ourselves of often! I am definitely going to share this post with others!


Katie Brandt January 28, 2011 at 7:03 am

Love Dave Navarro too :-) Like Zig Ziggar says, “You will get all you want in life if you help enough other people get what they want.” That’s a great motto to live by.

And, I want all the world to know the David Meyers has been an incredible mentor and guide in my professional life. Thank you for being you and helping me turn into who I am today :-)


Marco Lee January 29, 2011 at 12:58 am

This is spot on!

First there was give value. Then Build Relationships. Then Build Community. What do we exactly get from those? Growth!

Indeed they say no man is an island and we need each other to help each other.

One man can be good at something and not so at other stuffs and that’s where he can ask fro help. Let other people shine. Let those people hone their skills more. To be better to themselves and to others.


arina nikitina February 3, 2011 at 11:01 pm

So true. A lot of people wonder why generous souls like the late Mother Teresa go around the globe and reach out to others. Apart from her Christian beliefs, Mother Teresa probably felt a little lighter and gained more hope and faith when she did all her “works”.

Sharing yourself and and helping others, more than helping others shine, is also about adding more brightness to your own light. So to speak.
So let’s all spread the word so we can spread the light!… and feel light about ourselves as well!


Katie February 19, 2011 at 3:52 am

Thanks for the wake up call – I’m often worried about bothering others if I ask for help and forget that they might be really happy/flattered that I asked.. And sometimes, like you say, just because I CAN do it alone, doesn’t mean I should.


cathyrin July 15, 2011 at 12:17 am

“True happiness comes when we learn to be content with what we have.”

Well said. Indeed there are many self help books that taught us to be satisfied of what we have and be grateful of who we are as a person. Though, it is so easy reading on these ways and tips, yet practically speaking, it will be more difficult and a bit complicated. But, I believe that when we choose to be happy, we will always be especially when we put those things that are most essential like relationships and health first as a priority, not money. Thanks for the share, anyway.


Cathy |


jenyshapolk October 20, 2011 at 3:07 pm

ah, love this & so so true.


Zu March 13, 2013 at 1:56 pm

Thank You


Fran Munschauer February 16, 2015 at 2:36 pm

I never really resolved the issue of when my mother called me, as usual, happily recalling every detail of her daily events. In the midst of her usual “everything is wonderful” discussion, she broke into tears, crying, “Nobody thinks that I am very smart. The story is not really important..Someone said something that made her feel bad.How was this possible for Frances Edwins Chisholm? to believe such nonsense ? An LSU graduate, traveling the world, studying her Fine Art in Italy, raising a family that presented more than the average needs, painting her beautiful portraits for even strangers on airplanes, being loved dearly by every single person I have ever met? I didn’t get it..until a song,”Wind Beneath My Wings”,that I never really liked a lot popped up on my Ipod. I listened to the words over and over for some reason and began remembering time after time, her life experiences. She sacrificed a career and fame because she was too busy standing in the background while trying to assure that those all around her were happy and could succeed in whatever dreams they hoped for.. My mother PUSHED US INTO THE SUNLIGHT AND MADE US ALL SHINE…We may all shine in that sunlight and maybe even after the sun sets, while her brilliance is everlasting. In memory of Frances Edwins Chisholm: 1917-2014.


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