So how did it go last week? Are you exhausted by all the flexibility you’ve created for yourself or are you more energized and alive? I’ll be honest, learning how to stretch in the context we discussed last week is no easy task but, it is certainly well worth the struggle when you find that sweet balance within your life. One thing I find that makes it easier to navigate through the process is thinking about the impact of the task at hand.
What will it mean if I accomplish said task? And I don’t just mean on a personal level. A lot of times when thinking about impact I find we tend to personalize it. Typically, our first thought is how I will benefit from whatever I am doing. But, what happens when we begin to think on a wider spectrum? Taking it one step further utilizing all we are learning about stretch and asking ourselves how can our actions impact the lives of others or even the world.
I chose to follow the conversation of stretch with impact because in order to create an impact we must stretch ourselves. In my opinion they go hand in hand. When we push ourselves beyond our normal limits the impact we have in life and with those around us shifts. Whether the outcome of what you are doing is positive or negative your actions are bound to become more recognizable, more meaningful, and full of purpose.
The impact we make in life becomes our legacy.
How we touch the world while we are here. I like to think of it as what you want other people to say about you when you are not in the room. Not that what other people think of us matters, because it doesn't, but how we show up to life is important. Are you the person that stands on the sidelines and watches as life passes you by or are you someone who takes the bull by the horns and gets actively involved.
A month ago a friend reached out to me asking if I wanted to participate in a volunteer effort serving the homeless people of NYC. When I initially agreed to do it I really didn’t think much about the opportunity. I had a few extra hours to spare and I generally like helping people so it naturally seemed like a no brainer. We’d hand out some bagged lunches, talk to a few folks, and then go on about the rest of the day. No big deal, right?
As the effort got underway and we started having meaninful conversations with people it became abundantely clear that our mere presence and willingness to share time would give someone else power within their life; Power that they may not have otherwise had the opportunity to have. The power to tell their story and have their voice heard. Power to feel worthy, important, and loved.
Now we were operating with purpose and the impact we had the opportunity to create was much more than I ever could have imagined. It felt like magic.
When I think about this experience in this way it now becomes an excellent reminder of the limitless power we all hold to make a difference in the world and in the lives of others.
So what impact would you like to have on the world and those around you?
I think it’s important to really think about this question and see how what we think we do falls in line with what we actually do.
Are there places in your life where you can increase your opportunity for making a difference?
Start by thinking of small behavioral patterns or actions that make a difference for you. Someone greeting you or acknowledging your presence, being asked how your day is going, someone actively listening when having a conversation with you instead of hastily cutting you off to respond or get their point across, having the door held open for you, stopping to engage with someone who looks as if they need help, that phone call to check in, or to simply say I Love You, punctuality, respect, saying excuse me, etc… How do you feel when these things happen vs. when they do not? Where can you make changes in your daily practices to make a difference for someone else? What is the opportunity cost for not behaving in this way?
There are thousands of ways to make a difference and create impact. I challenge you this week to continue to stretch and find what works for you.
It truly is a beautiful thing when you are able to recognize that sometimes the smallest of actions can make the biggest impact.