The other morning, I wasn’t paying attention and I backed our new van into our Honda.
The impact caused minimal damage. A couple scratches on the back of the van. A small scratch on the license plate of the Honda.
Though the impact was small, it was still frustrating.
I immediately found myself thinking about how avoidable it was. Just a few extra seconds of consideration and remembering my surroundings would have headed this situation off completely.
That careless moment could have caused major financial stress and issues for us in the future. Thankfully, all it caused was embarrassment and a soured morning.
Minimal impact is still impact.
In life, we are impacted daily by all kinds of inner and outer factors. As I have found myself thinking more about impact, I have become acutely aware of these factors and I have realized they are large in number. We are impacted by outside sources constantly, we are impacted by our own internal dialogue and choices constantly.
So here’s what I’m getting at with this embarrassing admittance and rambling about impact: we have power over a lot of the impact we receive in our day AND we have power over our impact on others in a day.
Things to ask ourselves: Am I producing positive or negative impact? Am I spending the extra few seconds needed to consider and remember my surroundings to make sure that my impact is positive?
Look at the impact others are having on you. Are there things you are letting impact you, that you could avoid by stepping out of the way? Removing yourself?
Just like my backing into my own car in my driveway, I have done this to many people, whether I was aware of it or not. We are lucky if our negative impact leaves only a scratch, reparable with a little paint or even fine left alone.
Often, though, our negative impact damages and leaves lasting effects. Things like trust issues, feelings of inadequacy, and a long list of other issues can develop from the recurrence of these negative impacts.
For example, the other day I got a text from a friend who I know cares deeply about receiving texts back in a timely manner. I got the text, read it and chose not to respond immediately – but I forgot to respond for an entire night… eventually an entire day. My choice not to just send a quick response potentially caused frustration, sadness, maybe even anxiety for my friend. It would have taken me a few seconds to avoid this. This is impact!
Another way I have seen negative impact is in my tendency to over-talk. My ability to talk is not a problem per-say, but if I am having coffee with a friend who takes more time to formulate thoughts and emotions it can cause a lot of negative impact for me to override the conversation by feeling like I need to fill spaces or get my quick story in that correlates to what they are saying. I have friends that will completely shutdown when they are talked over. My choice to consciously watch this, is huge for navigating a healthy time with them. This is impact!
How about our impact on the kids in our lives. When that ten year old walks up and asks me the same thing they have asked 10 times in the last week, I can make it obvious how irritated this makes me by sighing heavily, pursing my lips, rolling my eyes… or, I can bite my tongue, smile, and answer their question. Kids pick up on our irritation. They begin to make connections early about what causes it. So if asking questions causes irritation, they might start withholding their questions. My intentional act of answering questions with patience is a huge component to leaving room for growth. This is impact!
How about your impact on yourself.
Think about it.
No really.. Stop and think about it.
How are you treating yourself?
Are you backing yourself into cars all day long leaving scratches?
The choices to eat clean(er), drink smart(er), and get moving have an immense impact on our day to day. Past that – how about your self talk? Have you extended yourself grace? Spoken honestly to yourself about your negative thoughts? HUGE FREAKING IMPACT!
So. All of this to say: you have the power of impact on your side. Don’t let it work against you. Take the few extra seconds to evaluate what kind of impact you are having day to day – on yourself and on others.
In just about every circumstance regarding impact – I think we have two options. (I REALIZE I AM OVER SIMPLIFYING A BIT – BUT HOPEFULLY YOU SEE WHAT I AM SAYING.)
- Remove yourself
- Change the impact
If social media is a place where you feel your impact is largely negative, and the impact others have on you is largely negative, you have two choices: 1. remove yourself or 2. change the impact.
If a person in your life has a largely negative impact on you, and you’re not sure how to be good for them either – you have two choices: 1. remove yourself or 2. change the impact.
If your job has a largely negative impact on you and you aren’t thriving, you have two choices: 1. remove yourself or 2. change the impact.
Insert your situation of impact, and make your choice.
I’m always plugging for my book, but seriously. The writing of “Pushing Into Joy” heightened my awareness of so many things, one of them being impact. We need practical tools for removing ourselves or changing the impact we have on others, or they have on us.
It’s hard work, but it’s good work.
Keep pushing, friends.