“A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives.”
It seems like half the people I’ve been speaking with these days are contemplating what impact they want to have in the world.
For me, the word ‘impact’ conjures up images of large objects hurtling through space towards one another at fast speeds, of extreme force, of an urgent need to ‘push’ something out into the world to vast numbers of people. Not an entirely positive connotation. If I substitute ‘influence’ for ‘impact’, overtones of coercion and manipulation creep into the conversation. If I substitute ‘making a difference’, a focus on causes or activism predominates.
There is something to be said for choosing our words carefully.
One of my conversations this week re-oriented this whole inquiry beautifully for me. Wondering about what impact or influence or difference we want to make can be just another form of navel-gazing—and a great way to avoid being in action. And when we get stuck in this conversation, the impact we have is the exact opposite of what we intend.
A dear friend and master coach summed it up perfectly:
“Figure out who you are, what’s needed in the world, and what you have to contribute to that need. When you’re clear about all three of these, take action. The impact you have will be whatever impact you can have.“
In today’s world, we really don’t have time for dreaming about the impact we want to have.
This blog post by Shae Hadden is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.