I was at a course a few weeks ago and one of the delegates stood up and said with a shaky voice: ‘I choose to express myself creatively because I want to be remembered.’ What she said made me think deeply about having an impact on the world around us and what being daring means.
Having an impact
To have an impact is to change something. You are opening up people’s perceptions and driving something forward. It can also be to create a piece of art that communicates in different ways, whether it be a poem, painting or music.
Most people enjoy working with enthusiastic people so, when you can, work on projects that you are enthusiastic about and the people around you will feel your enthusiasm and it will inspire them to work with you. There will always be people working against you if you try to have an impact, and you need to be good at ‘farming’ your network. You need to focus on the people who work with you, not against you.
When I’ve been involved in a project that has had an impact I’ve always spent a lot of time doing research about the need for the project: Why do we need to do it? What will happen if we don’t do anything?
When you have the facts on the table and the ‘why’ is very clear, then you have enough behind you to move the project forward. It becomes very difficult for people who are risk-averse to say no when you have facts on the table.
I once met a spiritual teacher who I thoroughly enjoyed spending time with and she said: ‘You only get what you ask for, nothing else.’ This is a mantra that I love to keep in my mind. There are still days when I don’t dare to ask for anything, but when I consider how to formulate an idea this mantra helps me to ask better questions.
Formulating interesting questions, high expectations and setting brave goals are contagious and the people with the right skills will be queuing up to join you in your project.
The magic of collaboration
There is nothing better than great collaboration, and there is nothing worse than unsuccessful collaboration. In life and at work we experience both. It’s impossible to predict which collaborations will work and which won’t work. But being an impatient person who never listens to anyone else is a great collaboration killer.
I like to work with people who are honest and driven by their own values. When I know ‘why’ they are doing what they are doing and there is no hidden agenda then it becomes a pleasure to work with them.
What’s stopping you?
Fear of doing something wrong that other people can criticise you for is probably what stops most people from having an impact and being daring.
Having an impact often involves ‘being the blue monkey’ and sticking out from the crowd. This can be very uncomfortable in the beginning and some people (and maybe yourself) will try to hold you back.
One of my favourite quotes goes something like: ‘Jump off the mountain and build your wings on your way down.’ We are smart and creative humans and if there is a problem we will find a way to solve it. When I was younger I used to love thinking about this quote and that the skills and resources I would need in the future would be around me when I jumped.
Are we ever ready?
When climbing the career ladder some choose to wait until they reach the top to say what they think. They wait for that ‘moment’ when you are allowed to start influencing others. I don’t think things work this way at all. People on the top who challenge what is going on around them have already done this on many occasions in their careers and lives. They started early. The higher you climb the more conflicts, change and turbulence you need to be able to handle.
There is one rule with power, and that is that the more power you have, the more smart people who want some of your power will surround you.
To become a person who has an impact you have to get your fingers burned a few times. It will hurt, but if you want to take the lead and be impactful you have to be daring over and over again.
Skills are always developed
You’ll improve your impact skills over time. Even though you may not always feel you are progressing, we are blessed and we learn new things every day.
Protect your mind from people who think there is a gold medal for being the most negative person in the room. They have probably never done anything that’s outstanding and creative, and they are just trying to make themselves feel good by holding you down .
It takes practice to become an impactful person, and you have to take some risks to do it.
Your life mission
The person I met on the course who said she wanted to be remembered was talking about what will happen when she is not with us any longer. Will anyone remember her? This is a big question, and there are many creative and impactful people who think about this.
Two other thought-provoking questions are:
- Do you want your life to be remembered as useful to humanity?
- In what way would you like it to be useful?
Many people do everything their way in order to feel peaceful in their own mind and they never really connect with the rest of the world. They avoid reading the news, and they are scared of negativity and spend a lot of time trying to feel as comfortable as possible thinking only about themselves.
If you want to feel spiritually connected with the rest of the world you have to engage with it fully, both with the good and the bad things that are happening here and now. There is more to life than trying to feel totally enlightened in your own perfect karma cloud.
Being daring is also about caring. Without caring about others you will find it hard to have a lasting impact.
I often think about who I would like to be remembered as; a person who was quiet and didn’t do something about what is happening in the world or a person who influenced and improved the world? Most days I choose to be the latter person.
Being daring starts from deep within and being impactful starts in your mind. Self-leadership is about stretching your mind about what’s possible. It takes training to be good at that.
Exercise your brain on a regular basis and talk to people who will give you energy to dare more, care more and do more.
…dare more, care more and do more.
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