It can feel like what you do in a day probably does not make much of an impact on others. You go about your routine, doing similar things each day. Your reaction and response to most events makes you feel like it is the “same old, same old.” It hit me recently that whatever story we tell ourselves about our impact is most likely bullshit (well if we are talking ourselves down).
I see it all the time at work. A colleague takes an extra step and picks up the phone to handle a nasty customer (instead of emailing) sings to them, and generally adds cheer to their day. That leaves a lasting impact. You leave an impact each day, by not reacting, by sharing your thoughts and opinions in a meeting, by reaching out with love and care. It is hard to know you have left a mark, is it not? We do not get to be omniscient to find out where the seeds we share get planted. Sometimes a seed makes its way back to us and we can see that the day we spent extra time with someone, showed them that they matter. We just do not always know.
All of this made me start to think of keeping a mantra at the forefront of my thought. It sounds a bit self-centered, but hear me out. “I IMPACT.” Just that. If we remember that in everything we do we have an impact, we then realize that when we are nasty on the phone with a customer service agent we just left an impact on them and their day. I really have to remember that. There are times when I have had to call a company more than a dozen times to resolve an issue and by that thirteenth time I lose it (well honestly probably earlier than the thirteenth call). What if I got to a place that I never lose my cool? Why? Because we have an impact in everything we do.
If we remember “I IMPACT” then hopefully we leave those we encounter with a positive, cheerful, uplifting mood. Good and bad interactions create a lasting memory, but maybe we all should work a bit harder to leave the good memory. At the grocery store, at work, with our spouses, kids, and family. I know it may feel like a lot of pressure, but it is food for thought.