‘Life without a purpose is a languid, drifting thing; every day we ought to review our purpose, saying to ourselves, ‘This day let me make a sound beginning’
Lately, people, places and things have been reminding me of the impacts people have had, or having, and will have on my life. Both good and bad, there are people that I have known for very little time and have more impact on my life and my outlook towards it, than people that have been with me the entire journey. The may be at the table for a little while, but they have brought so much to it. Not only can they make me reevaluate where I am, and where I want to be, but they also provide the encouragement to get there.
What is a life? It is simply moments of time. All we take with us when we leave this life is our experiences, our love, and our lessons. And what we leave behind is the impact we make on the lives of others. We have a choice about how we experience our life in any given moment AND we choose the impact we wish to have on others.
Every day, as we go about your day-to-day activities, whether you are at work or with family and friends, you have an impact on people’s lives. Do you realize the impact you are having on people? And are you happy with the impact your life is having on the lives of the people around you?
There are many people who have impacted upon my life and shaped the person who I am today. There are the usual suspects like parents, grandparents, brother, aunties, uncles, friends and teachers. But for me there are also the doctors and nurses and therapists without some of whom I wouldn’t be alive today and without the rest I wouldn’t be as capable as I am today.
My own definition is that something has ‘value’ to me when it contributes to my well-being or serves my life in some way. When something sustains me (food, water, air, warmth) it has value. When something meets my ‘higher level’ needs (care, love, companionship, belonging, growth, meaning, beauty, freedom etc.) it has value.
Objects contribute to my life in limited ways and are mainly luxuries, rarely giving me the essentials of life beyond what I need to survive. People, on the other hand, contribute to my life in a far richer, deeper and more flexible way. People adapt to the moment and respond to the ever changing needs for my well- being. The people in my life will always have greater value than any inanimate object.
Turning it around, I’m also constantly searching for where I can best contribute to the lives of the people around me. I don’t always succeed but this is where my own value lies as a human being.
Your impact is about you and the experience others have with you. It’s important not to pawn your power off on others by believing that you have no control over what other people think of you. Your actions lead to the impact you have in the minds of other people. In other words, you are the cause; their perception is the effect.
It’s not just your behavior that’s impactful, but also your energy, emotions, mood, words, and body language. It’s what you don’t do as much as what you do. People may not remember what you say, but they will remember how you make them feel. As a parent, and as a friend, your impact has a reach that extends far and wide. It takes on a life of its own as people share their experiences of you with others. In addition, people have their own moods and priorities at the time they experience you or your message. This influences their perception.
People watch you and they make impressions about how they think of you and what they feel about you. Even you have impressions about you.
I’m realize I can’t change the world, not overnight anyway. And probably not single-handedly, no matter how much I’d like to believe so! There are some steps I can take in my day to day life.
One of the lessons I have learned in my life is that many people miss out on when they try to build and maintain relationships is the simple fact that keeping in touch alone doesn’t add value, and without value, there is no real connection. Real relationships, real friendships, real connections are based on exchanging value with each other.
Think about your closest friends. They provide companionship. They provide help when you need it. They give you a shoulder to cry on. They offer advice when you ask for it. In short, they’re valuable to you – and you keep coming back to them.
Then, think about the people you really value as friends. Who are the people that always come through in a pinch for you? Who are the ones that offer great suggestions when you need it and are seemingly always there to point you in the right direction? Those are the people that add value to your life – and they’re the ones you’ll be glad to help out if they need a hand
And I’m not talking about the normal everyday impact that you have on your friends or family, everyone does that. Somewhere in the middle would be good. Where something I was able to do or say had a positive effect on someone. Where it changed their way of thinking or changed how they see the world.
Purpose is really another way of describing what impact you want to have. Imagine yourself at the end of your life. For you to have lived a life that you would be proud of and feel like it was well used, what would you have done? What impact would you have had on those around you and the world you inhabited? What in your life tunes in with that and what doesn’t? Where are you in denial about your life and the way you want to live it?
The good news is that the payoff is enormous. In short, pass along value and you’ll get value in return. When you really feel like you are living the life you are meant to lead and that you are having a positive impact with your life it can feel amazing. And, who wants to get to the end of their life and have regrets about the kind of life they could have led? Take charge now and make sure that at the end of your life you can say that your life was well lived.
The only thing you can control is you. By consciously choosing how you want others to feel when they are with you, you can start to create the kind of impact you want to have in this lifetime. What do you want people to say about you when you leave the room or when your name comes up in conversation? It’s not too late! Begin right now to make the impact you want in the lives of those you meet along your journey.
Everyone can do 50%, most can do 70%, some even do 90%, but very few are willing to tackle the last 10%. Those are the people who make a difference. Remember, it’s the last 10% that matters. It’s the last 10% that changes lives. It’s the last 10% that takes us into living a life of impact.
Be creative, or be simple…just give the last 10%. Don’t ever sell yourself short, on who you and what you can accomplish. It will have an impact! Living a life of impact takes effort and it’s intentional…and it is so very worth it. I challenge you to live that life (and yes, I’m working on it too!!)!
Living a life that will outlive you means that you must leave something behind that will have some form of impact to be remembered. If you don’t add value to another’s life, then maybe you shouldn’t be a part of it, and if they don’t add value to your life, don’t make them a part of yours.
If you could write your life in a simple sentence, what would that sentence say about you………
“Hope in the Shadows” by Michael Clark