It doesn’t always seem like what you do matters.
But it does, in ways you might not even realize.
A tale of two impacts
Garrett and Monica are both bit players in my life.
I’m a bit player in theirs. (Or maybe not. You don’t always know the ripple effect of your impact.)
Remember my wine and I’m yours forever 😉
For the last thirteen years I’ve been part of a group that gets together weekly for dinner. We meet on Wednesdays, same time, same place. But a year ago it was time to find a new place.
After searching for a restaurant that would meet everyone’s criteria, we settled on a spot that most of the group loves. I’ve been in eh, it’s okay mode and have not-so-secretly continued to scope out other options.
Not any more!
As long as Garrett’s there, I’m sticking with where we are.
By the time I showed up last week everyone had ordered and had drinks in hand. Before I’d even sat down, our waiter came over and asked, “Do you want a glass of the Patz and Hall Chardonnay? That’s what you had last week.”
When Garrett returned with my wine, ready to take my food order, he also remembered I’d ordered a side of veggies instead of fries.
I was amazed.
There are usually eight or ten of us, we’ve only been going there a few months, and he’s not always our server. I didn’t even know his name (I do now!), but he remembered what I’d had to eat and drink.
Garrett had a seriously positive impact with just a few small actions. I left feeling great.
And the ripple effect?
I’ve lost interest in finding an alternative restaurant, which means our group will likely be eating there for years.
And then there’s the opposite end of the spectrum.
Earlier that day I’d worked out with my trainer, something else I do on Wednesdays.
Normally we’re the only two people at this small personal-training facility, but occasionally the owner shows up. As she did that morning.
Without a hello or any acknowledgement that there was a client in the room, Monica pointed to a small pile of ropes and snarled, “Who left these here?” Without waiting for an answer, she marched into her office giving off a vibe of I’m wound so tight I could explode.
A few minutes later she walked back out of her office, mumbling under her breath, the door slamming behind her as she left the building.
She was there for less than ten minutes. And that’s all it took to make me feel like I’d been dunked in a pool of negative energy.
Just like Garrett, she had an impact with just a few small actions. But in her case it was as negative as Garrett’s was positive.
Your impact comes from small daily choices and actions.
It’s as easy to have a positive impact as it is to have a negative one. The difference? Making conscious choices. And these practices will support you in having the kind of impact you want to have.
Be intentional. Take a few moments before you start your day, walk into a meeting, or begin a conversation to ask yourself what kind of impact you want to have.
How do you want to show up? What mindset do you want to carry with you? What kind of energy do you want to bring into the room?
And then …
Pay attention to your choices so they support your intention. We all make hundreds of them every day, mostly unconsciously.
Bringing your undivided attention to a meeting is a choice and has an impact.
Checking email on your smartphone or whispering to the person sitting next to you in that meeting are also choices that have impact.
Garrett’s choice to tell me he remembered my wine had an impact. So did Monica’s choice to complain in front of a client.
As you move through your day, periodically check in with yourself to make sure your choices are in alignment with your intentions.
And one of the best ways to maintain awareness of your choices is to…
Keep yourself grounded. The more stressed you are, the harder it is to notice your choices … and the greater your risk of inadvertently having a negative impact.
Yoga, exercise, prayer, hanging out in nature, meditation, bubble baths, connecting with friends, quality time with your kids, or lying on the grass looking at clouds (literally getting grounded!) are all ways to lower your stress and keep yourself centered.
You are more powerful than you imagine. Use that power consciously.
Sometimes when I consider what tremendous consequences come from little things, I am tempted to think there are no little things ~ Bruce Barton