Episode 95: A Person of Impact

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We all want to know that we matter. We need to know that who we are or what we’re doing means something to someone out there. We need to know that what we’re doing is making a difference and that we’ll leave a legacy behind that says that we did MORE than just exist. We lived, we influenced, and we inspired countless others on earth.

You impact and influence EVERYONE you meet – even if you don’t notice it.

What’s your ripple effect? 

We feel motivated to keep going when we SEE evidence that we’re doing good but what if you just knew you were doing good and decided you didn’t need to see signs?

I’ve been pondering this topic for a while of our ripple effect, how you as one person, an individual creates a long-lasting ripple effect that we seldom if ever see the end of. We’ve all heard the phrase, “No man is an island” right? Because everything we do creates a new thread of impact much like dropping a pebble into a still lake. At first, it’s just a tiny splash, maybe even a tiny droplet but then as you watch the water you see a circle around that tiny splash, and then another, and another, and another and they just keep growing and expanding, larger and larger until that ripple effect reaches where your feet are planted on the shoreline.

Tonya Dalton once said, “We’re all a catalyst (my favorite word) – We’re all a catalyst for change. We all have the ability to change and improve the world around us.”

No man is an island and more so than not it’s your positive impact that shapes and changes the world around you starting with those in closest proximity. I believe there’s a reason why Mother Teresa said, “If you want to change the world, go home and love your family” – now this is not to instill guilt in you if you’re immediately thinking about your morning with your family or the current dynamic or even thinking that you “should” or “Could” be better. That’s not going to be productive just yet. So stay with me.

I want you first to see how important and essential you are in the world and that you might be more influential and inspiring than you realize. The ripple effect if you recall isn’t about big change. It’s not about doing big things or helping a lot of people, it’s about small things.

Remember, “By small and simple things are great things brought to pass” (alma ***) Oftentimes we diminish our worth or our value because we see others doing “bigger” things. They’re helping MORE people. They have a bigger following or more people coming to them, needing them and we see these people and it’s easy to judge or compare ourselves to them and we think, “who am I? I’m just me, I’m not someone of impact. I’m not doing enough.” Which in your mind really means, “I’m not valuable enough”.

And we know by now, at least, if you’ve been following the podcast for a while that our thoughts create how we feel. How you feel motivates you into action or inaction and your actions, create your results.

So if you’re thinking, “I’m not enough.” How does that feel? What actions will that create? And what kind of ripple effect will you have with that mindset?

Probably minimal to none, right? Because when you feel like you’re not enough, it creates a feeling of shame which shame likes to hide and do nothing so there’s no pebble, no ripple effect, nothing.

Which is the opposite of what we really want and that’s to help others, to be needed, to share our unique and individual light with the world but we can’t do that if we don’t see ourselves as a person of impact no matter what your season is, what you’re doing, what your circumstances are, or who you are. You are a person of impact.

I’ve always loved the quote from the Dalai Lama who said, “If you think you’re too small to make a difference, you haven’t spent the night with a mosquito”. 

You are a person of impact despite your educational background, your income, how many people you see and interact with daily – Something I hear often is that, “I’m just a stay-at-home-mom” – I don’t see anyone, I don’t do anything and what they really mean by that is that they’re with their kids in an often thankless position doing tasks that call on a lot of mental energy to do. So it’s easy to see someone else interacting with all kinds of grateful people who offer praise and validation and think, “I’m not a person of impact…I’m just…”

But listen to an excerpt from this poem by William Wallace:

Blessings on the hand of women!

Angels guard its strength and grace,

In the palace, cottage, hovel,

Oh, no matter where the place;

Would that never storms assailed it,

Rainbows ever gently curled;

For the hand that rocks the cradle

Is the hand that rules the world.

Now I’m not specifically speaking to Mom’s but as a mother of 4, I do get it. And that ripple effect while the impact might be delayed visually for a while it’s there and it’s strong. 

Each of us is a person of impact. Your words matter and not because we can affect others – we aren’t agents to be acted upon. However, we have three direct areas how we affect others and how our ripple effect gets started.

As individuals we can: invite, influence, or inspire others and oftentimes we don’t even know that we’re doing it. There are times when we deliberately invite, like directly invite others to listen to something, to try something, to do something. 

I’ve shared this before my dear friend Cricket, I forever have her to thank for her at the time unknowing ripple effect for steering me in the direction of life coaching. 

She invited me to listen to podcasts. At the time I didn’t even know what it was and it was through her invitation that I stumbled across this amazing world that at that time I didn’t even know existed and we can see how vast that ripple effect has become. It literally changed my entire world, what I do, how I speak, my interactions with those around me, my family, all relationships – and it started because of one tiny pebble – one invitation in her own natural and normal ways. She had a long commute to work and loved podcasts and simply invited me to love them too. I’m forever grateful for that invitation.

Are you inviting others to love what you love? Sometimes we don’t because we’re too worried about what the other person will think of it or us. Like, what if they don’t like it? What if they think I’m crazy because it’s not as cool as I thought it was? And then we talk ourselves out of sharing or inviting something that we love and we miss an opportunity for a ripple effect. We put the pebble back in our pocket so we never see the effect that pebble could have had – and we’ve all done it and again, it’s nothing to feel guilty of or regretful over. It’s an opportunity to take a leap of faith that this calls to me for a reason and maybe it will call to them too. Why not? The worst that can happen is that they reject the invitation – like throwing your pebble on concrete vs the water and even that is okay. It’s just an invitation when or if they’re ready or able to accept it.

But it’s not a call to stop inviting. If it means something to you why wouldn’t you want to share it? Especially in areas that you care about, areas that spark joy for you. This doesn’t have to be something that is in current affairs or at the top of pop culture. Does it spark joy for me? And this isn’t just sharing things, this is sharing your joy – a smile even. When you smile at someone else you’re inviting them to join with you in that. Smiles are contagious. Thoughts, opinions, and ideas even – sharing these can change their perspective which creates huge ripples.

In my membership, I’ve shared this before and often that almost 20 years ago I went to a teacher training for church. It was a small group of 15 people or so and I can’t remember anything from that meeting except for this phrase that has stayed with me ever after. He said, “Preparation precedes power”. He invited us to come prepared for our lessons and not just wing it even if we think we know the material well enough. And now I can’t tell you how many times I’ve shared that with others because it means something to me. It’s valuable to me. That one invitation created a ripple effect in my life that now as I share it with you has the potential to increase and continue expanding.

Invitations are powerful pebbles and most often the only time we can actually see the ripples extending and expanding. In coaching, I offer invitations all the time. Come talk to me – seriously, come talk to me, you will leave better than when you came, I promise! I invite others to join the membership because it’s amazing and you will learn and grow in so many ways. I invite others to work with me 1-1 and that’s where I see directly the ripple effects of these tools and how these transformative principles play out in their direct lives and there’s still a beyond that I don’t see. I don’t see who else they shared their journey with which helps them invite and drop a new pebble and thus the impact just keeps going.

Think about your invitations. What kind of a ripple effect are you creating? How are you impacting those around you? And like I mentioned, some ripple effects are delayed and slower to see than others – like raising kids but never doubt their potential for creating huge, lasting, forever ripples.

So invite. The more you invite others to think a new thought, to try on a complement, to experiment with a new idea, activity, product, recipe, conversation, etc – we have the most chance of seeing a ripple effect that we initiated and ignited.

Think about what sparks joy in your life and invite others to join you. That simple and seemingly small invitation can create huge ripples and change for good in many lives and it all starts with your one invitation.

The second way we impact others is by our influence.

This is just who you are, the way you live your life, the way you dress, what you eat, what you listen to, how you spend your time, etc. This is people watching you and maybe silently or not so silently observe and try on your way. 

Think about social media. We call people influencers on there because when we see something that resonates or sparks something within us we are influenced. We spend time pondering, thinking about, entertaining that concept, idea, thought, activity, etc. And sometimes it leads to fruition and we start adopting that way too.

Too often we underestimate our actions, who we are, our ideas, or the words we say and we don’t even realize that they could be making a huge difference. Like that teacher class. I don’t know if he went home and thought, “no one participated, no one seemed engaged, did they even like it?” Because I don’t recall making a point to go up to him afterward -eek. I didn’t even realize at that time just how much that phrase, “preparation precedes power” would affect me or how much I would come to love it. Again a delayed ripple effect but a ripple effect nonetheless.

How many times have you stopped doing something because you didn’t see a direct ripple effect? You weren’t acknowledged, no one said anything, you didn’t get as many likes on a post, you didn’t get the response you hoped for or even any response. It doesn’t mean that you didn’t influence others. In reality, it’s these moments, these little things that set off a huge chain of reactions that become so much bigger than we could have dreamed. And if you knew that, if you could see that, wouldn’t you want to keep going? Wouldn’t that be worth it to you to keep on keeping on?

We stop because we assume that it doesn’t matter, no one likes it, no one said anything but we just don’t know which is why we can’t do things or be someone for someone else. We need to like our own reasons for doing something and then hold on to the belief that if this sparks joy for me, undoubtedly it’s going to spark joy for someone else and out of the billions of people on the planet – most likely many someone else’s. Keep going and being who you are because you can’t influence others by staying small and not shining.

Studies have shown that we, on average, have the capacity to reach, impact, and touch nearly 80,000 lives over the course of our life alone – and that’s an average – that’s including the reclusive, the introverted, and all the rest. I’m betting that we impact way more and that our ripple effect because it’s too difficult to see the far reaches of our effect that you have a hand in influencing millions and millions.

So knowing that, thinking about it in terms of numbers and studies – how do you want to influence others? Not how you think they want to be influenced. Stay in your own head, but how do you want to influence them? Again, what sparks joy for you? What lights you up? What uniqueness do you have within you that only you have that no one else could bring to the world? Be true to you and share because only you can bring your individual creativity to the world. You add something that no one has or could ever bring.

I think of the band Queen and the really popular song, “Bohemian Rhapsody” and that when they shared that idea with their executives and even the bassist in the band was worried about the reception and if anyone would listen to such a unique and different compilation and think of how popular that song is now?

In fact, my husband and I went about 5 years ago to Monterey’s Bach Festival that they host every year and one year the theme was “Bohemian Rhapsody” and they played the most stunning, beautiful, bring you to tears symphonic version of that piece. Think about the ripple effect of someone’s uniqueness and joy.

Don’t ever underestimate your creativity or the things that spark joy for you. Just because you can’t see an immediate reception doesn’t mean it’s not making an impact because most likely it is and if you knew that, if you could see that, would it be worth it to you to keep on keeping on?

Believe that it is because most likely it is. And keep being you in your most individual, creative, unique ways because it’s exactly what the world needs. I love the variety of social media accounts. I follow a ton of gardening influencers from all over the globe and you’d think that planting cucumbers would get boring or that someone else has already done it so why should I share but I tell you what each site is different, each way they plant, how they plant, support, feed, and care for each is different and seeing this variety of sources I am influenced for the better and then I add my own unique understanding and take on it and thus the ripple effect continues.

When we’re not so much in their heads and we choose to stay in our own we invite more joy into our lives just being who we are and knowing that we’re influencing others just by being ourselves. It’s exciting and humbling at the same time.

So get clear on what you really care about. Once you know that people are watching and not in a creepy way just observing you. How you show up, how you carry yourself, what you care about, what you do, what you like – people are naturally curious beings and we’re prone to watch and feel uplifted by others. 

You are more than what you DO or who you directly work with or talk to. You are influential just in being you. The next time your brain wants to chime in and think you’re not doing enough or that you’re not enough, you can confidently tell it that it’s wrong. You are a person of impact. The things you love matter and your people can’t find you if you’re hiding.

The last area we impact others is by inspiring them. This is influences cousin because it’s still from a watcher perspective but this is you sharing you – not necessarily making a direct invitation but being you from a sharing capacity. 

When you put something out into the world, a talk, a conversation, a book, an idea, a project you’re working on, an interaction even you have the capacity to inspire others. Inspiration comes when we feel a spark of creativity and an urge to do something with it. It’s like, I must try that, I want to do that, I’m going to make that, I’m going to experiment with that.

I was in a class ages ago where it was the first time a teacher was asked a question and she didn’t feel the need to answer it. She thought about it and said, “I’m going to throw this back out there and let me ask you what you think about it” and she did. There was a beautiful discussion with lots of insight and engagement because it wasn’t just a teacher, student atmosphere. It became a “we’re all worth hearing, we all have ideas and insights we can share.” It was inspiring to me because up until that time I believed it was the teachers job to have all the answers and she might have even had an answer but she chose to use that opportunity to let others shine, share, and inspire and that act alone was so beautiful to me that I’ve ever since adopted into my teaching and I love it because I get to learn right along with everyone. I get to be inspired by others as well in a teaching capacity.

Influencing is about internally taking something in. Inspiring is about change where the inspired can’t help but take action with it. Influencers might influence me to change the way I think but inspiration demands action. When I’m inspired I’m motivated to go and do and immediately. Think about who or what in your life has inspired you to go and do or create or change your course a bit. How grateful we are for these wonderful people and things in our lives that help us to become more of who we really want to become or more of how we want to feel. Sometimes it’s not about changing who you are, sometimes it’s about igniting a spark within you that feels exciting and fun; almost like it awakened something in you, you didn’t even know you were missing.

I want to share just a few examples with you really quick of this inspiration – there are many and I highly encourage you to ponder about the times in your life you have felt inspired but then follow that inspiration and notice what you did or how it changed you for the better.

First, because it’s on the top my head my daughter and I went to Universal Studios recently. It was just a quick trip and because she loves Harry Potter. While we there it was magical. We’ve been there before but there’s something, at least for us that when we reread the books again for the thousandth time, or we watch the movies, or hear the soundtrack, or even more when we’re wandering the castle or the shops in Hogsmede I feel inspired. I feel a great sense of awe and gratitude for the creativity that started with one mind. Now, think about her ripple effect. One person, one idea, one tiny pebble that when dropped into the water created a ripple effect that has and will continue to affect and inspire countless individuals all over the world. Not just in book format, but media, clothing, accessories, movies, amusement parks, there’s like real quidditch teams too and all kinds of spin-offs that I don’t even know about. 

People have felt so inspired they’ve written philosophical books about her magical world. The actors now have become people of influence because of the roles they’ve played and the way people now see them. The ripple effect has inspired so many people in so many ways and it started with a small, simple idea of an orphan boy that finds out he’s a part of a magical world.

Each time we read or watch or immerse ourselves again in that world we feel inspired to create. There’s a spark that reminds us how much we love fun and magic – and not like wand magic – but wonder and awe. I love being inspired by that world and that beautiful soul that had the courage to write it down and to share it.

There is magic and wonder within each of you. I know it. How are you sharing your magic? How are you inspiring others just by being you? Are you allowing yourself to be authentic, to share your uniqueness, to own what sparks joy within you and to be courageous enough to let that light shine?

Being a person of impact isn’t something we set out to do on purpose and what I mean by that is it’s not forced. When we try to impress or influence others it usually backfires because we’re more focused on what they’re thinking of us rather than what we think of us and that’s where your magic lies. In your head, in your preferences, in your unique, creative mind. This is the essence of quiet confidence. It’s knowing who you are all the parts of you, loving and embracing all of it, and having the courage, trusting yourself enough to share it with the world.

That’s exciting. That’s inspiring. 

Another example of inspiration is from a woman who I just adore. We’ve both moved years ago but I’ve loved her light and will always be grateful for her. This woman would grow daffodils in her yard and when they were in bloom she’d pick bunches of them, put them in mason jars and deliver them to people. And I tell you what, one year I was in the trenches of motherhood with 4 really young and energetic children and there was this one day that I was just exhausted and she came to my door with this brilliant, bright, warm, loving smile and this gorgeous bouquet of daffodils and while I thanked her and looked incredibly grateful she has no idea just how much she has impacted me. This was years ago – and to this day I’m inspired by her. She didn’t write a book that changed all of humanity. She shared something that sparked joy for her and it inspired joy within me too and not just that but ever since then I’ve made a point to share, to give, to surprise others with little things that spark joy for me and hopefully inspires and ignites joy within them as well.

You can be a person of impact when you are true to what sparks joy for you and when you invite, influence, or inspire others to take part in your individuality and uniqueness. And just know, like we don’t have to see the whole pond, the extent of your impact to know that it’s big, that it’s important, and that you have touched more lives than you could ever fathom.

There’s a really cute children’s book that I love. Even if you don’t have kids, you’ll want to check this book out because it’s inspiring and remember, the key to inspiration is that you go and do afterward. Inspiration differs from influence because of the action it creates. So this book, it’s called, “Ordinary Mary and the Extraordinary Deed” by Emily Pearson. You can even YouTube it and listen to someone else read it to you. 

Go check it out but the premise is this little girl, Mary that was on her way home from school found a blueberry bush on a vacant lot and picked a bowl of berries and left them on a neighbors porch. So the neighbor feeling inspired by this kindness decides to use the berries to bake blueberry muffins to share with 5 people that she thinks could have been the ones to have secretly left the berries for her. 

Then those five people feel inspired and do kindnesses in their own unique ways. The paperboy is feeling grateful and inspired so instead of throwing the papers he hand delivers them exchanging smiles and face-to-face contact – which after the pandemic we can all appreciate just a little bit more, right? 

Someone else is so happy so he simply just smiled as he went about his day which inspired others to smile too; which inspired them to act in kindness and love as well.

The book goes on and on following the ripple effect of one seemingly simple deed from one seemingly simple little girl. It’s really cute and I love it but the idea is true. You are a person of impact. We can invite, influence, or inspire others and what kind of impact do you want to leave on the world?

Don’t think about it from a place of others looking in or trying to hard – you don’t have to try hard, you don’t have to try at all – you just have to give yourself permission to be you, to pay attention to what sparks joy for you and then in your natural and normal ways we impact others either by inviting, by influencing – people just noticing, looking in, seeing you in what you would normally be doing, and then inspiring others to be more of who they are.

Your ripple effect is much bigger than you could ever imagine and most of the time it isn’t the grandiose event or deed that you do. It’s the simple things, it’s you being true to you, it’s you showing up with your ideas, your thoughts, you.

I want you to remember this the next time your mind tries to tell you what you’re doing isn’t important, or that you aren’t a remarkable or extraordinary person. When you mind tries to tell you that this doesn’t even matter, why try? Why bother? When what you’re engaged in seems thankless and like you’re not making any headway. If it’s important to you, if it rings true for you, then that’s exactly what the world needs.

You might not SEE the ripple effect but you get to choose to believe anything you want to believe and why not choose to believe that your seemingly small contribution is making a profound impact that can reach a global sphere?

We don’t always see our impact, in fact, most of the time we don’t see it, but I’m telling you it’s there. You know this is true because you have people and examples in your own life where you have been invited to take part in someone else’s joy, where you have been influenced by how someone else lives or who they are, where you have felt inspired by someone and as a result it motivated you to go and do and add more goodness and inspiration to the world.

You are a person of impact. How does that truth feel to you? What do you want to do with that knowledge? Can you make more of an intentional effort to be mindful in what you choose to think about, focus on, and create on a daily basis? Again, not because of what others think of you, but simply because of who you are? 

I’m going to close today’s episode with a quote that I sincerely love by Fred Rogers, speaking of being a person of impact – this is a tangent, you know Mr. Rogers was a music and composition major and came home to see a TV in his families home and he had the impression that he could bring his love of good, praiseworthy music to television for kids instead of what he saw playing at that time? So instead of pursuing his intended theological studies he went into television and where he created an outlet to connect and teach children and adults to love and appreciate their own human experience which has influenced and inspired people for generations all over the globe  – just by sharing what sparked joy for him: music, the idea of talking about kindness, of human connection. His example inspires me continually and I wasn’t even a die hard Mr. Rogers watcher when I was younger. 

Okay, the quote: “If you could only sense how important you are to the lives of those you meet; how important you can be to the people you may never even dream of. There is something of yourself that you leave at every meeting with another person” and I want to add to that because this was before the smartphone and social media even – you can’t even imagine just how much of a person of impact you are by being you, by sharing what sparks joy for you, what quotes you love, what book you’re reading, what thoughts you individually have. You would be in awe of yourself and how amazing and incredible you are.

I say this to you because too many of you are hiding, shrinking, not sharing because you’re afraid of what other people are thinking. And to that I want to tell you, it’s not about them at least in that capacity. It’s about you giving yourself permission to be you. To develop and strengthen your quiet confidence so that you can be a light and share who you are in your natural and normal ways.

You are a person of impact and I am so glad you exist. Thank you for being here with me. Thank you for connecting with me. Last thought from Fred, “The greatest gift you ever give is your honest self” and I might add even to you – not hiding, not in someone else’s head – but you being authentically you.

Okay, catalysts – you’re amazing. Go impact, invite, influence, and inspire the world by being your amazing, authentic self!

Talk to you next week!

Oh! And please don’t forget to rate and review the podcast – it helps others find it and for the search engines to offer it so your words and thoughts help. Thank you all! Have a great week, my friends.

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