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We keep throwing this word around called “impact.” Do you know what your impact is and how would you define, discover, understand or leverage it? It’s like describing a calorie, we are unable to touch it, but our body knows when it has touched us!

I can assure you, most emphatically, that you have more impact than you realize. We all do. Tim Elmore says: “Sociologists tell us the most introverted of people will influence 10,000 others in an average lifetime.” Imagine how many people you have knowingly and unknowingly influenced in your life so far.

Every person you come in contact with is impacted in some way. For example, if you hold the door open for someone, that has an impact. Whether or not they say “thank you” impacts you. You feel satisfaction if they acknowledge you and disgruntlement if they don’t. If you compliment a co-worker on their performance, you have had an impact on that person. If you criticize another person, you have also impacted them. How you have conducted yourself during these interchanges will shape how you influence that person’s response. As you can see, impact can go in two different directions: negative or positive.

What is impact?

Verb: /imˈpakt/

1. Come into forcible contact with another object. Synonyms: crash into, smash into, collide with, hit, strike, ram, smack into, bang into, slam into.

2. Have a strong effect on someone or something. Synonyms: affect, influence, have an effect on, make an impression on, hit, touch, change, alter, modify, transform, shape.

I am focusing on definition number two: to have a strong effect on someone or something. We typically go about our daily routines without considering our impact. We don’t consider whether we are making a positive difference or a negative impression. This is particularly prevalent when we are not face-to-face with others. Most impact in our sphere of influence is largely subconscious.

You have more impact than you think.

Impact predicates choice. Will you choose to have a positive impact or a negative impact? You have freedom of choice and can choose what your impact is on others. Your impact equals your legacy. You have the ability to become responsible for your actions and be intentional about your path, based on what you want your immediate environment to reflect. There’s an old adage: you get what you give.

Choose your path wisely.

Your impact and your legacy are centered on what you decide your legacy will be. Are you considering the repercussions of your words, actions or inactions?

Why care about your impact?

John Maxwell posits, “When you live each day with intentionality, there’s almost no limit to what you can do.” You can transform yourself to reach your goals, live your dreams and live in fulfillment. It all starts with understanding that you have an impact and by owning it. Once you have taken responsibility for influencing your life, decide what type of influencer you wish to be. Be the architect of your future; be intentional about your impact.

Your impact defines your reality. Always remember, you are the composer with the pen, begin transcribing your choice of impact on family and community.