LA 029: Do you Want to Impress People or Make an Impact?

If you think that you are too small to have an impact, try going to be with a mosquito in the room. - Anita Roddick

Size Doesn’t Matter; Impact Does

When you think about thought leaders such as Martin Luther King Jr., Gandhi, or even Oprah, it’s tempting to conclude that YOU couldn’t make very much of an impact in the world like they have. After all, they are special. They are “big”. I couldn't possibly do what they have done! And while you may not be Mother Theresa or the Dali Lama, you are NEVER too “small” to make a real difference in the world. Because the truth is, you don’t need to be famous or lead an historic movement to have an impact. You just need to do what needs doing in your corner of the world.

Too often, we talk ourselves out of taking a stand or making a contribution because we tell ourselves it won’t matter, or that no one will notice. Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, ordinary people around the world make the GREATEST impact in the lives of others. You can’t put a price on teaching a child to be kind and empathetic. Or spending time with an elderly person who has no family. Or feeding a single mom and her children who have fallen on hard times.

Think of someone you know who makes a real difference in your life.

Are they famous? Probably not.

When you think of ways you can make an impact, you don’t need to be big, world-famous, or change the course of history. 

You just have to believe in the value, significance and influence you have on others. And then go out and share it.

Do you want to impress or impact people?

Making an impact on people takes time and effort to build and maintain a closer relationship.

  1. Impressing followers can be done with little or no relationship. All we need is the will to be involved and to leave a memorable impression on followers. It can be done at a distance – a concert, a convention, a conference, heck you can impress on YouTube or Facebook, even a tweet.
  2. Influencing followers can be done with some relationship. Influence requires the will of the follower to be involved. The follower must want to be influenced by the leader and this usually involves a connection between leader and follower.
  3. Impacting followers can only be done through an intimate relationship. Both the wills of the leader and follower need to be involved. They agree to accountability and growth usually “up-close and personal”.

It is time to shift paradigms. Especially for our younger future leaders. They don’t want a “sage on the stage”, they want a “guide on the side”. As leaders who desire to impact others we need to follow Dawson Trotman’s axiom,

“More time with less people equals greater impact for everyone.”

To truly impact people, leaders need to coach and mentor others effectively for organisational and individual results.

My challenge to you is to become a true leader to the people you serve.

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