It won’t go away. It’s always lingering and begs us to engage with it even when we try to ignore it. That’s what this question does. It engages you and presses you to stretch towards your potential—Who do you have to become to grow your influence, increase your impact and expand your contribution?
A couple weeks ago, I shared five core principles with my ImpACTful Notes subscribers aimed at helping them answer this question. The content clearly resonated with people and their feedback inspired me to provide more insights into this burning question.
So, over the next few weeks, I am going to focus on how these five principles (plus one) can help you grow your influence, increase your impact and expand your contribution.
Six Principles of Impact, Influence and Contribution
- Humble in your aspirations.
- Gracious in your victories.
- Resilient in your failings.
- Visionary in your perspective.
- Grounded in your choices.
- Persistent in your purpose.
Be Humble in Your Aspirations
The first principle, “Be humble in your aspirations,” is ground zero—the place we need to start. I have a lot of uneasy experience with this principle. As tough as it is to admit I’ve not always worn humility well or even at all.
I’ve struggled, stumbled and fallen more times than I can count. I don’t think I am alone in declaring that at the end of every year I look back and think I should have done more and accompished more. And the real painful part of the reflection is that some of my ambition was misdirected. It’s a difficult admission, but true.
Why It Starts with Humility
Simple, we like to see ourselves the way we like to see ourselves based on our own self assessment. An assessment that research shows is highly inaccurate which gives rise to stubborn blind spots. Blind spots that foster a resistance to the humilty we need to learn, grow and improve.
Increasingly, humility is difficult to nurture because it is not valued in our commercial and social media driven world. Let’s be honest, these platforms are littered with self-aggrandized promotion. We are encouraged and rewarded to project who we want to be or think we want to be and not who we authentically are.
Humility Fuels Impact and Influence
I’ve learned (the hard way) that being humble in our aspirations is powerful. Humility is a core principle for anyone who wants to grow their influence, increase their impact and expand their contribution because it is the gateway to personal authenticity.
And if you are anything like me (and you likely are) it is tough to look within. It’s tough to take a personal inventory, seek feedback, look at the gaps in your life and own them. When we are humble enough to accept our current reality and improve our relationship with feedback then we will find the strength and courage to close our gaps.
Three Keys to Fostering Humility
Pride is a killer. It poisons families and cultures, destroys relationships and fosters bitterness and resentment. The antedote to pride is humility! You can grow in humility by doing three things.
- Understand and define your gap.
- Set a standard of personal and authentic excellence.
- Do your best.
Understand and Define Your Gap
All great change and improvement begins with accepting our current reality. The gap is the divide between our current reality and the future we envision. You understand your gap when you have identified the relationships and skills and knowledge you don’t currently possess that are necessary for you to become who you most desire to be.
Think about it this way—Who do you have to become (growth) to reach the people you want to reach (impact) and serve the people you want to serve (contribution)?
Thinking about these questions will help:
- What are my blind spots?
- What is my relationship with feedback?
- Who can I ask to help me who cares about me and who I most want to become?
Set a Standard of Personal Excellence
Comparison and envy are killers because they will crush your spirit, blind you to your unique gifts and rob you of the joy you were created to live with.
If we allow the world to set our standards, we will clamor for its approval and fall victim to its shallow and fallen nature. We nurture humility into an immoveable foundation of strength when we use our time, talent and resources to serve and don’t concern ourselves with getting credit or be showered with applause.
Setting a standard of excellence and making that our aim gives rise to humility. You don’t need the world to take note—your impact, influence and contribution will be noteworthy enough.
Do Your Best
Knowing humility is powerful and using its power are two different things. Knowledge is common and powerless to affect change or progress. What is rare is the relentless application of knowledge in the pursuit of improvement or contribution—a bias for action.
The most powerful strategy for closing your gap is a daily commitment to do your best. Simple, but hard—do your best. It's amazing what you can do and accomplish if you can consistently stand in front of the mirror, at the end of your day, and say, “I did my best!.” And it is possible possible because we have full control over our effort.
When you embrace that fact that no one has your unique time and place in history affect impact, influence and contribution you no longer need to look outside for approval and applause. And by consistently, persistently and determinedly aiming to do your best you will quickly discover you have put the power of humilty to work because you are growing in faith, enjoying improved relationships and becoming a master of your craft.
Be Humble in Your Aspirations
No one has your unique time and place in history for influence, impact and contribution. Embracing this truth is a springboard to your best and brightest future.
Put the Principle to Work
For each of of the six principles, I have created a worksheet to help you think about and put the principle to work.
What you'll learn:
- Understand and define your gap—take a look at your "blind spots" with the help of an incredible on-line tool.
- Get an APP that will help you "Do Your Best" every day.