Something remarkable happened with me this morning at the end of my movement meditation class: I was speaking with a woman who was telling me she presents to large groups of women all around the world.

Somehow, she felt like telling me how it was that she made a breakthrough 20 years ago when she was still living in New Zealand.

Some professional presentation coach who had just flown in from another country was staging a special seminar in Auckland, promoting his event with the tag line of “Come to this one day workshop and you will overcome your fear of public speaking.”

She went to the event, and when it came her turn to present in front of the audience, she was terrified – so afraid and shy, in fact, that the seminar leader suggested she hide behind a curtain on stage, which she did.

Then he seemed to totally ignore her and went on to the next participant.

She didn’t like hiding any more, as well as not being noticed – and since she paid good money to be in the workshop, she didn’t want to miss her turn, after all.

The seminar leader then asked her to come out from behind the curtain and tell us all what she’s most passionate about. She was all too ready then to no longer feel held back. With her bursting out with renewed passion from that single moment of breakthrough, she has never been afraid to speak up to audiences ever again.

The most unusual thing about the story is that she told me the seminar leader’s name was Gary. Suddenly I remembered that it was me, I was that seminar leader — and I’ve always remembered asking some shy woman in New Zealand during a seminar I was leading there to get over her self-consciousness by giving herself permission to safely hide behind a curtain, and the ensuing breakthrough that took place. It was the very woman I had just met anew today, 20 years later, who now has no fear speaking in front of audiences.

Which just goes to say, that we often have no idea how much we affect people in our lives. And then, years later, we meet them again and realise what a deep, powerful and penetrating permanent impact we truly had.

So watch what you think, say and do ~ for moments well lived will – sooner or later – return to you!