"I'm not sure what I want to do, but I know I want to make an impact."
This is something many people can relate to.
And to be honest, it's a nice problem to have.
Many have the luxury of having our primary needs met to such a degree, that we have time to think of self-fulfilment and contribution.
But it is a problem.
Because we have big issues to solve in the world, and solutions will not create themselves.
We need more people than ever to make a dent in the world, to aspire to use their full potential to make a change in the world.
What impact do you long to make?
When we talk about impact though, it is important to talk about what it actually means.
In our Instagram-filtered view of the world, it's easy to look up to others and feel bad that we haven't yet built a shelter for orphans... or created a cool 'startup' that changes people's lives....
Impact, as its core though, does not have to be something objectively mind-blowing.
It can be to help all children get a quality education, raise a happy family or leave a legacy beyond your life. But it can also be about making someone's day better, give more hugs, or being there for someone.
Whenever we look deeply at what we want to do, we realize that we don't have to play as big as we think.
Three Important Truths About Making an Impact
1) Decide what impact means for you
It's silly to set goals, if we don't know why we set them.
Or know where we want to go.
Just like success can be defined in a thousand different ways, we all are meant to set out to change the world and impact on it, in many different ways.
Get curious and figure out your own definition of impact.
The options are endless...
- Having kids and creating a loving family?
- Express yourself through art, and by being yourself allowing others to do the same?
- Donate 5% of all your earnings into an important project of choice?
Everyone's idea of an impact is different. Make sure to define your own.
Don't copy-paste someone else's dream.
2) It's not for you to judge the value of your impact
I used to be stressed that I wasn't reaching enough people. It wasn't enough that I had meaningful coaching sessions, I felt a need to reach more, do more, "impact" more.
One day, I had a realization.
Who am I to decide a value on the impact I'm making?
We can't know what a smile can do...
How much-needed encouragement can change the course of someone's life...
What kindness means, or how a hug on a bad day can save someone's life.
We can not judge the impact we're making. Because we simply cannot know. It is a ripple effect that is not under our control.
3) Your future impact is in your present effort
No one can predict the future. We can guess, at best, but many trends and future events are impossible for us to know.
Think about passion for a second...
We don't find our passion, we go out and create it.
Same thing is true for our impact. It is not something that simply happens, it is something we create for ourselves and others.
So how do we create impact?
We focus on creating in the now. Only what we do right now.
Here are some questions to start with:
- What cause will you support today?
- Who will you speak for, stand up for?
- What action will you take - even if you don't see the results right away?
Your impact will not show up in the future. It will be a natural result of what you do today.
Forget about the impact that you so much long for.
Instead focus on your most valuable next step.