The question surprised me. No one had ever asked it with such curiosity. It hadn’t dawned on me that everyone didn’t know. But if he knew what it meant he didn’t let on. “What is impact and why does it matter?,” he asked.
Great questions are powerful. Our minds once challenged with a question never retreats to its previous state. To wrestle with a question about what impact is and why it matters can change the direction and trajectory of our lives.
Impact is a mindset
I have friend who performs random acts of kindness and assistance. Recently he was standing in line at the grocery store. Scanning the people waiting in line he spotted someone whom he thought looked like they could use a helping hand.
He went to the cashier, pointed a lady out and told her he wanted to pay for her groceries. He handed her his credit card and made her promise she would not reveal to the woman that he had paid for her groceries.
After scanning the woman’s groceries, the cashier smiled at the woman and said, “That will be nothing. A guardian angel paid for your groceries.” You might expect joyful response (maybe even some tears), right? Not this time. “Who did this?” the woman exclaimed! “No one is buying my groceries!”
As you can imagine the cashier became flustered and as she stood there in dumbfounded silence, the woman raised her voice and emphatically demanded to know who paid for her groceries. My friend’s cover was about to be blown. “He did it,” the cashier exclaimed pointing to my friend who now stood there is shellshocked disbelief.
As she pulled her credit card from her wallet the woman looked at my friend, handed her card to the cashier and said, “I am paying for his groceries.”
What is Impact?
Impact is a mindset about how you live. It is using your time, talent and resources to improve the lives of the people you love and lead. Impact is looking for opportunities to do good and fulfill the dreams that stir in your heart.
It is recognition and acceptance that no one has your unique place in the world. There will be opportunities to act and influence that will be lost forever if you don’t seize them. Impact is a personal commitment to learn and grow in order to increase your effectiveness in your most important life-roles.
Why does impact matter?
Impact is like a stone you drop in the water. The greater your impact, the more significant and powerful ripple you create. Impact is the most powerful tool you possess to change and improve your life and the lives of the people around you.
When I was asked why impact mattered I replied, “Don’t you want to make a positive difference?” As heads began to nod I added, “Doesn’t everyone wants to make a positive difference?”
What do you think? It doesn’t strike us all at once, but at some point, in victory or defeat, we all wrestle with the same question, “Did it matter?”
You wanted what you did last year to matter and you want what you are going to do this year to matter. The meaning we desperately desire and seek is inspired, motivated and engaged when we define and clarify the impact we want to produce.
Impact is the seed of making a positive difference?
Here are three impact tools you can use to clarify and define your journey to raise your personal and professional impact.
The fruits of impact are sweet! People who are engaged in the pursuit of meaningful impact harvest joy, happiness, service, gratitude, excitement, family, connectivity, purpose, motivation, excitement, community and the list could go on.
Impact is a choice people who want to make a positive difference in the world make consistently. My friend will stand in the grocery store again some day and look for someone he thinks needs help. Sure the last experience didn’t quite work out like he planned. The unexpected outcome could have pushed him away from ever trying it again. But impact doesn’t know embarrassment or defeat it simply begs us to continue the pursuit.