Do you ever consider the impact you make?
My cousin sat in a hospital room with her sister-in-law, waiting to see if her 44-year-old husband would make it after suffering a catastrophic aneurysm.
A cleaning lady who spoke little English each morning arrived to clean the room. The sister-in-law greeted her daily, talked to her, and made her feel seen. When the sister-in-law returned home, my cousin noticed that the cleaning lady kept asking for her. She realized, at that moment, that the impact of this short, daily exchange of conversation that seemed such a small thing to do made all the difference, especially because that woman works in a world where, in the pecking order, she is last in importance and visibility.
Impact isn’t the same for everyone.
Mark Manson, the co-writer for Will Smith’s autobiography, asked Smith why he spent so much time talking to his fans. Smith told him: “I have an asymmetric relationship with my followers. For me, it’s five seconds that I’m going to forget about within a minute. For them, it’s five seconds they’re going to remember for the rest of their lives. Just put in the effort for those five seconds. The payoff is so monumental for the other person that there’s no ethical argument not to do it.”
Many of us don’t think deeply enough about the potential impact or the opportunity we can make. We forget that developing new, positive habits might give us a new perspective and possibly more happiness. We cruise through our days doing what we’ve always done.
James Clear, the author of the blockbuster book, Atomic Habits, is a creative thinker and writer who has thought deeply about forming new habits. In an interview with Tim Ferris, Ferris asked him to describe what must come before you make a habit change.
He said: “First, you must decide who you are and how you want to show up.”
This changes during a lifetime, but it isn’t a typical question we ask ourselves regularly.
We learn, grow, and have good and terrible experiences that change us. All too frequently, we keep going with little self-reflection about who we are and how we wish to show up.
How do you want to show up?
When we hear others talk about the great leaders they have worked with or known, it comes down to personal connection. These leaders make the most of their interactions by making every person they meet feel seen and heard. The truly great ones make us feel like we are the only person in the room when they are listening and talking to us. The ability to personally connect by making someone feel seen and heard is the path to increasing impact.
The good news is that it is not a difficult path, but it does take some self-reflection. It also creates goodwill on many levels, including your own.
The first step is to define who you are. Then take some time to think about what you have learned and how you wish to express those gifts of experience.