After being honored in a tribute at the Kennedy Center the renowned musician, Carlos Santana, was interviewed by several eager reporters. He was often asked about the musicians he most admired, the turning points in his life and how it felt to be popular again. Yet, according to his wife, the question that drew the biggest smile from Santana was, “What do you consider your greatest achievement?” Santana answered, “I am becoming the people I love.” Then rather than proceeding to talk about himself, he described, in vivid detail, the loving behavior of others he was increasingly emulating.

Who Are You Becoming?
Whether he’d met me after completing a complex international conference call for his company Columbia Steel, where he was chairman, or after a church service, our family friend Hobard Bird, usually greeted me by saying something like, “What’s made you happy today, Kare?” After listening closely and asking follow-up questions, he’d then inquire, “Now what are you going to do to spread that lovely spirit I see?” Since I’ve been a teenager, I’ve looked forward to seeing him. On into his eighties, Mr. Bird has spread his spirit of deep caring and curiosity in most conversations. That behavior became contagious. Each time I returned to Portland to visit family and friends, I noticed more people who know Mr. Bird. With a warm smile on their faces, they ask me their variation of those two questions. In those conversations we tend to bring out the best side in each other and to leave feeling affirmed, uplifted and interested in supporting each other.

In your silent self-talk and spoken conversations, what role are you playing with others and how does it feel – and how does it seem to make them feel? One thing I learned after reflecting on what I dubbed the Hobard Bird Effect was the counter-intuitive way to become popular and respected. Recognize that, when first meeting or re-meeting someone, more vital than how they feel about you is how they feel about themselves when around you. In those reflective moments in the car, or when you first awaken or are about to drift to sleep, what are you often telling yourself – about yourself and about the main actors in your life? Do you enjoy the current story line of your life?

Are your most familiar scripts filled with envy, worry or fear, or with optimism, openness and joy? Unless you’ve had a frontal lobotomyyou are merely human and you have felt both extremes at different times. But where do you live in your thoughts and words most of the time? How we describe ourselves -- and others -- is the story line we are creating for our lives, delineating the role we play and affecting the roles of those around us.

What Character Do You Want To Play?
Want to change your story? Want to drop some worrisome characters and give bigger roles to the people you admire? Then begin by changing the people in the main scenes you repeat as re-runs in your mind. Change the main scenes you choose to act in. To practice, turn the camera of your mind’s eye to the people you admire and the scenes in which you can demonstrate your best temperament and talents. Next? Put your mouth where your mind is now. Praise the traits and actions in others that you want to flourish. You are more likely to pull people with those traits into your life and to paint a picture of yourself as someone who embodies them as well.

Author's Bio: 

Speaker Bio: Kare Anderson’s TED talk on The Web of Humanity: Be an Opportunity Maker has attracted over 2.5 million views. She is an Emmy-winning former NBC and Wall Street Journal journalist, now a speaker on connective behavior and author. Her TEDx talk on Redefine Your Life Around a Mutuality Mindset is now a standard session for employees and invited clients at 14 national and global corporations. Her ideas have been cited in 16 books. Her clients are as diverse as Salesforce, Novartis, and The Skoll Foundation. She was a founding board member of Annie’s Homegrown and co-founder of nine women’s political PACs. For Obama's first presidential campaign she created over 208 issues formation teams. She was Pacific Telesis' first Cable TV and Wideband Division Director and a founding board member of Annie's Homegrown. Kare’s the author of How We Can Be Greater Together, Opportunity Makers, Mutuality Matters, Moving From Me to We, Beauty Inside Out, Walk Your Talk, Getting What You Want, and Resolving Conflict Sooner. She serves on the boards of The Business Innovation Factory, TEDxMarin, and World Affairs Council Marin.