Each one of us has an impact. Personally and professionally, we impact each other and most often we don’t know how. We may not be aware of it or care about it, still we have an impact.
What we say, positive or negative, has an impact. Being a life coach who coaches people on being their best selves, I’m going to focus here on the positive impact...
This hit home for me recently when an old friend emailed me out of the blue. The last time we’d been in touch was more than 32 years ago when we were kids. She’d been trying to locate me since I moved away in 1978 without any success. Thankfully she was persistent and now that I have a website she found me.
To say it’s been poignant to reconnect sounds corny, cheesy, and it’s totally true. She emailed me a scanned letter that she has kept all these years - one that I’d written her right before I moved away. It was filled with my appreciation and love for her and how having her as my friend had made my life there “much, much, much better”.
She tells me now that it was really difficult for her when I moved away - and the thing is, I had no idea. I had absolutely no idea. Actually I thought she wouldn’t notice my absence ascribing all kinds of possible reasons - we were too young, there were several years age difference between us, etc...
And so it seems that I made up a lot of stuff about what she might be thinking and feeling. How often do we make up stuff about other people?
Luckily she and I can share this with each other today. It doesn’t always work out that way. Sometimes, we never know the impact we have on the people around us.
Because people don’t tell us,
Because they feel too lost, ill or scared,
Because they’re not aware themselves of the impact that someone has had on them,
Because they are too shy to share it, or
Because they’ve moved away or passed away.
We may have no idea what impact we’ve had in the moment - it may reveal itself with time, or not ever.
That smile, that hug, that gesture of kindness, the warm welcome, the encouraging words, the words of support, the invitation to join colleagues, friends, or family…these are just some ways that we have a positive impact.
Its significance is that we offer belonging, inclusion and appreciation of others, an appreciation of our human-ness, our vulnerabilities, and our interconnected-ness.
Our words and actions may be appreciated immediately. Sometimes they will be acknowledged in the moment, or later, far into the future, when we least expect it. Or never.
And perhaps this is the whole point – to act and speak with an intention of kindness and without expectation. Giving with your heart without expecting anything back.