I was on the subway this morning and noticed a woman yawn. Immediately I felt like I needed to yawn.

I did.

Then I looked around and a few other people were yawning.

It’s funny how contagious that is. One tired woman riding the subway to work yawns and influences an entire subway car to yawn also.  Amazing when you think of it. Well, maybe it’s just amazing to me. But I bet after reading this paragraph about yawning you’ve yawned yourself and not just because I’ve bored you with my story about riding to work.  Yawning is contagious.

Anyway, that yawn this morning got me thinking about a dinner party last weekend. My wife and I went out to dinner with my parent’s best friends. He is from Zambia, a small country in Africa and she is from Portugal.  He has been our family doctor ever since I was an early teen. And ever since I first met him, I’ve always been envious of his life. He’s a great traveler with a great spirit for adventure. The type of person who one day decides he wants to learn how to ski and THE NEXT DAY goes to the Alps for lessons. Why not. That’s where the best skiing is right?

He’s the only adult in a class full of children but that did not deter him. He was learning how to ski and that’s all that mattered.

Now he goes to Austria every year for a ski trip with friends he’s made on his many adventures.

As he tells this story about his first adventures in skiing he has a big smile on his face. A smile that lights up his whole face.

It was contagious. Everyone at the table was smiling.

The next day my wife and I talked about how amazing his stories were. We love traveling and hearing his stories – his determination, his spirit – it put the fire back in our bellies. We were energized.

His energy was contagious. His energy triggered a reaction in us, the same way the yawn on the subway triggered a reaction in the other passengers.

The ability to reach our goals is first determined by our own motivation. But equally as important is the environment in which we surround ourselves. Our behaviour is influenced by our surroundings. So in order to reach our goals, to reach our potential we need to place ourselves in an ideal environment. That means surrounding ourselves with the people who will energize us, and not drain us of energy.

I’ve always enjoyed having dinners with the doctor. After an evening hearing his stories, I’m always left feeling motivated and energized. Ready to tackle my goals and set new ones. It’s the power of the yawn.

When thinking about your environment remember the power of the yawn.

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