Have an Impact

I’ve learned something from writing this blog and seeing the response to my wife’s recent guest post, the world needs people who have an impact.

Not people grinding through the motions of life. Not people worried about what’s in it for them or their ego. People who are willing to have an impact.

Let’s take my wife’s post. It received effusive, emotional comments on Facebook, including this sampling of excerpts:

  • “wow…”
  • “l love it.”
  • “I needed to read those words today!”
  • “Love, love, love this post!”
  • “I related to this post in so many ways”
  • “Beautiful. Brave. Inspiring.”
  • “Incredibly honest and courageous…”
  • “I think she wrote that for me.”

I shared the link to her post on Facebook. It received 139 likes, dozens of comments, and 13 shares…with all kinds of additional interaction off those shares.

That’s a pretty nice reach. Want to know a bigger number?

2,086.

That’s the number of page views her post has received as I type this text. That’s out of almost 8,000 overall page views for this site since I started it on April 30 (and more views than the site’s homepage!). Add the quantitative response of the page views with the qualitative response of the comments, and it’s crystal clear my wife had an impact.

The ironic part: my lovely bride was nervous to have the post go live. She was afraid of how people would respond. I think we answered that, and created a great example that your impact can be more meaningful than you expect.

Having an impact is why I started this blog, which was basically a response to finding out my transformation, as seen in person and on social media, was inspiring people…an outcome I never expected.

Where else do I have an impact today?

  • Professionally: I lead a team of 10 people, each with visible roles across a large, changing company in a complex industry. And I’m also a significant face of the company internally and externally. There are times I know I’m having an impact, and doing so intentionally. There are also times I don’t know, and only find out later.
  • Healthy living: the number of people who say they’ve been inspired by my transformation and what to know more about it, often after seeing it unfold on social media still startles me. I’m just doing what I do, and for some reason it sticks.
  • In the home: how I show up in as a father and husband really matters to me. It’s light years better now than before my transformation, but still a challenge. Why? Life. Life still has challenges. Life is stressful. And I’m not perfect. I have years of flawed behavior and responses to life’s problems that I have to unwind now. That’s a constant work in progress.

I call those out because there’s a point where you just have to be intentional, do what you need to do, but not try to control the outcome. That’s not anything crazy or revolutionary, and may not mean adding new activities to your life. It just might mean doing them differently, with a clear intention, then going with the flow from there. The impact you have by doing so may surprise you.

Example: I didn’t have any real plans when I started this blog, just the idea that I had something to say and wanted a venue to say it. The rest followed.

Including now finding myself frequently stopped by friends or acquaintances at professional or social events who mention this blog and talk about it. My wife has seen it unfold and can attest, it’s odd, a bit unexpected, and rewarding, all at the same time.

Why odd and unexpected? The people saying something often aren’t the ones who have “liked” or commented when I’ve posted links on Facebook or LinkedIn. They’re not the ones who message me on FB out of the blue to say something about a post they just read. They’re people I wouldn’t otherwise know have read it.

That’s exactly the point. You have an impact even when you don’t realize it.

So my advice: carry yourself accordingly. Someone’s watching, and may learn or be inspired by you. That’s a fact. The only question is what are you doing, knowing that, to have an impact?

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