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What Impact Do You Want to Create?

May 27, 2021

Image by Arek Socha from Pixabay 

We're all pretty busy right now. How much of your busyness is focused on the big, important things and how much on details that won't really matter in the long run?

With apologies to my animal-loving friends (I’m one too!), you may be familiar with the plight of the lion deciding whether to chase the gazelle or the mouse. The mouse is a sure thing, but provides so little reward, just a small unsatisfying snack. The gazelle, on the other hand, is a challenge, requiring the lion to work harder and be smarter. Capturing the gazelle is not a certainty, though the reward is proportionately greater -- food for the whole pride.

So, what are you chasing right now? We all have the possibility to impact the lives of others. How deliberate are you about choosing that impact and making daily choices to support that direction? In other words, are you working on your desired legacy?

Just take a look at your last 15 days and be honest with yourself. Has your focus been on the little things that don't matter or on the things that really make a difference?

This is a great time of the year to get real. We're facing the summer, when people get lazy. I also encourage you to do less...but more of the things that matter. What are those for you? Here's an exercise that might help. If you had to take 50% of your work activity off your plate right now, how would you do it?

I'll offer just two criteria to help you decide. As you look at your activity, which are those things most in alignment with your best self? What are those things that bring you joy, make you feel fulfilled, challenged, energized, and grateful -- that make you happy? Second, what are the activities that make the most impact? What contributes to your purpose in life, to your legacy, to how you want to be known and remembered?

It is never too early to think about this and to be deliberate in choosing activities that support those intentions. So, two simple criteria: is it aligned with you and is it making an impact? Everything else is a candidate for elimination, to free you up to be more purposeful.

When it comes to Purpose, with a capital P, sometimes people spend years trying to determine why they are here, what mission they were sent to fulfill -- and that's fine. Other people "just know." And that's great too.

I've noticed, however, that some people are frustrated trying to determine their life purpose and so, for the rest of us, I'm recommending that a different approach. It involves living purposefully each day, every week, every month and every year. All that adds up to a purposeful life. By doing things that are in alignment with you at your best and those that have an impact that maybe only you can make, you live and work with purpose.

In the process, something I've found helpful is being willing to be uncertain.  For some, this may be a stretch, though I have found that when you approach something with an open mind, not knowing what you will discover, there are often pleasant surprises.  An unexpected outcome can be positive or negative, and the latter is an opportunity to learn, grow and correct course.  To me, either outcome is a good one. 

In the past eighteen months, we've all had a lot piled on to our plates.  We are all still in a period of transition to a new normal.  Being unafraid of the transition and the uncertainty that goes with it has been very helpful. 

So, think about ways that you can live in the solutions and not in the problems.  And how you can approach the continued uncertainty and transition period with an open mind and an open heart.  And be willing to explore your purpose (with a small p) on a daily basis.

Whether you are a business executive leading a team, or the owner of your own business, I encourage you to share these thoughts with two or three friends or colleagues who can benefit from them.  And, to offer your own comments or questions by simply replying to my message.  And finally, to ask for some help if you need it.  These times continue to be challenging for all of us; if you need some help navigating, schedule some time for us to chat; I will listen to your biggest challenge and offer a solution, or, at the very least, a different perspective.  Either way, you win.

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