Impact! I think about creating impact every day. If you have thought for a moment about how you will be remembered, you have too! It’s your legacy—the level of impact you created with your time, talent and resources.
A few years ago, I read 20,000 Days and Counting. On your 20,000th day birthday you are 76 days shy of your 55th birthday. If you are short of this milestone, be forewarned it will arrive much more quickly than you think. If your days have stretched beyond 20,000, no one needs to remind you of the brevity of life.
There are always checkpoints along our race journey that grab our attention and bring us face-to-face with the question—is what I am doing going to matter? Am I going to let circumstances and conditions (which are never permanent) affect my pursuit of creating impact—changing lives?
My good friend and publisher, Kary Oberbrunner recently reminded me of an important truth—the greatest of all human freedoms is our ability to choose. We choose our attitude—it shapes our outlook on life and our commitment to making an impact. He challenged me to think about the importance of this daily choice and described the four types of people I will choose to be today.
Who will we choose to be today:
These choices grabbed my full attention. Would I want to be viewed as a cynic—definitely not. Goodness, choosing to be a critic doesn’t sound any better—does it?
But before I drew any further conclusions, I wanted to make sure they were as attractive or unattractive as I thought they were. As I looked at these definitions, I pictured them emblazoned on a t-shirt.
- A person who has negative opinions about other people and about the things people do—especially a person who believes that people are selfish and are only interested in helping themselves.
- Someone who expresses their opinion on any matter sharing their personal judgment (generally in opposition) of its value, truth, righteousness, beauty, or technique.
- A person who utilizes what is produced by others without thinking about how to contribute anything in return—comfortable taking freely from others.
- Someone who brings something new or original into being—makes something new and creates value that is both observed and felt. Shares their time, talent and resources for the greater good.
Which t-shirt will you choose to wear today?
When we choose to be a creator we don’t allow circumstances and conditions to dictate our outlook or influence our attitude. Something refreshing and powerful occurs when we rise above being a cynic, critic or consumer and embrace the outlook of a creator—we raise our impact.
Your thinking shapes your actions. Creators think great thoughts. They surround themselves with other solution-oriented people and push aside the cynics, critics and consumers who choose to embrace the outlook of a victim.
Robert D. Smith helped me think great thoughts when he said, “Become your own problem…when you do that, you take the outside circumstances and bring them inside. Suddenly, you have power. How can you become the problem in this situation? Now that you are the problem, what changes will you make?”
Being a creator requires thinking.
The cynics, critics and consumers don’t think but let their emotions turn their compass negative.
I am the problem! Oh, don’t I know it. I can’t change everything I want to change and neither can you. But we can certainly change our outlook and choose to be the creator we were designed to be. Creators are impact focused—inspiring hearts, unlocking possibilities and changing lives.
It’s urgent—this requires your immediate attention. Creating impact requires you to choose which t-shirt you are going to put on again tomorrow.
“Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom”