Impact [Verb] = to have an effect on something or someone.
Such a simple term with so many complex nuances & understandings.
I’m here. On earth. But why? Why am I here? What am I doing with my life? Is this all there is, or am I missing something?
Some of us think about these questions for a long time. Some of us push this uncomfortable feeling away. But whichever way you deal with it, the question usually remains until you really feel like you’ve found “it”.
Impact. At the end of the day, at the end of our lives, we want to know that we did something. Something good. Maybe even something great! Whether it is for our own self-esteem, a rush of power, or if it truly is a humanitarian outreach, we want it.
When you hear the term impact, what surfaces to your brain? For me, it was foreign lands where I was helping with housing, sustainable farming, and basic human needs.
The first thing that comes to mind is probably similar along the lines of massive scales of impact. And that might be what you’re here for. But take a step back. And then a little further.
To give you a visual, Impact is something that ripples outward. Impact is made by the striking of one thing against another; an action. When an action is put in motion, reactions are created, each one affecting the other. So in this aspect, there is no possible way for you to NOT have impact somehow in some way.
We tend to minimize the ways in which we affect the world. But one of the most contagious forms of transferable energy are emotions. When we have a bad day, our mood can severely bring others down. When someone is laughing ridiculously, others can’t help but look over and smile too.
So today, I want to challenge the way you consider the impact that you bring to this world and give you a few ideas of ways to create the most significant impact every day.
- Often times, those that want to help others will burn out as they consistently put others first. They’ll jump at the chance to help, without considering the long term affects or impact of their actions. All they do is immediately respond to what is in front of them. For those helpers & caregivers, our greatest opportunity is to keep ourselves heathy so that we can respond to, and prioritize, the needs ahead of us.
- Set boundaries: one of the hardest things to do. But I promise you, that if you can invest the next 6 months understanding what your boundaries are, what feels healthy, setting boundaries with your primary and secondary spheres of influence, you are going to be a much stronger, healthier person with clarity & vision to help the world around you.
- Stop justifying your 2%. I call the 2% rule the ultimate reason for pain in the world. We convince ourselves that we are really nice people, because we surround ourselves with people that might be easy to be nice to. But we all have that 2% that we just cannot stand, or write off, or are straight up mean to. Because we think of ourselves as generally good people, we minimize the impact & effect that we have on this 2%. But my low tolerance persona is NOT nice to be around and can truly crush others. You don’t have to agree with them. You don’t have to do what they want. But you can set boundaries, be very clear about your position, and choose to engage in a way that you can be proud of even when it is not easy.
- Understand the impact your own thoughts & brain have on yourself. What you tell yourself is often your reality that far superceeds actual circumstances. It is why I travel to foreign lands where a family has very little to eat, and yet they are happier than most people I know that have excess. It is because their reality is based on something different than physical circumstances. So when you mess up, when you are struggling, what reality are you creating for yourself? Do you feel like you always get the bad end of the deal? Do you feel frustrated with others for letting you down time and time again? Do you feel like an imposter? In each of these circumstances, a simple paradigm shift can change everything. I’ll give you some examples to the emotions above:
- Do you feel like you always get the bad end of the deal?
- Do you often put yourself in a position to be taken advantage of? Do you need to hold any responsibility for the outcome, or do you shift all blame to others? It is very easy to feel paralyzed, or like you are a victim of circumstances, but often this mentality steals so much happiness and peace from our life.
- Do you feel frustrated with others for letting you down time and time again?
- What are the expectations (spoken or unspoken) that you put on others? Are you holding onto unrealistic expectations? Are you assuming that others should be like you? Are you being clear about your timelines, outcomes & understanding of who is doing what? Be asking yourself these questions, you can start creating space for solutions that you can move forward vs a negative pattern of doubt in humanity.
- Do you feel like an imposter?
- What are the truths about yourself that you DO know? Are you taking on the perspective of someone that doesn’t know your whole story? Are you coming up against others that are insecure and project that onto you? Who you surround yourself with, and what you tell yourself will make a big difference.
- Do you feel like you always get the bad end of the deal?
- Once you start aligning these things inside of yourself, you will be ready to create incredible impact around you that will last and you will not get tired of.
- We are so incredibly powerful. Just as we minimize the negatives about us, we also tend to minimize some of the power and greatness that we have as well.
- Give permission: it’s weird, but as humans, we tend to want approval or permission to do something a little different. When someone is sharing with you, empower them to do good. Take out if it’s a good IDEA vs if it’s with good INTENTIONS. If you can champion someone’s desire to do something- literally anything- your permission or encouragement could literally help them have the confidence to change the world. I can tell you there are a few key people that did this for me, and now I’m living the life of impact I only dared to dream of 10 years ago.
- Normalize failing: and let’s normalize failing in front of others. There is no greater opportunity for impact than in taking risk. So when you see someone discouraged, or feeling like they “failed”, take this opportunity to thank them for trying. Let them know you’re watching- and cheering them on! Encourage them to keep trying and dreaming.
- Do what you can, when you can: A $10 Starbucks gift card to someone asking for money on the street, volunteering at a local shelter, sending someone a small gift that made you think of them. Take opportunities in front of you. Impact doesn’t have to be one big thing. In fact, people that I’ve seen that have made the most impact have done hundreds of little things for hundreds of different people. Don’t discount these little actions.
- Go on an international humanitarian trip: okay, I might be biased to this one, but every time I lead someone on an international humanitarian trip, it gives perspective to the many ways anyone can create impact in the world. We live in such small “bubbles” that we forget the privilege we have. What can we do with the time & resources that we have been given? Can we support others creating long term impact?
In conclusion, remember that no matter what you choose to DO or NOT do, you are making an impact either way. We are given opportunities every day. What will you do with yours?