What do you think the impact of your life has in the grand scheme of things?  Do you feel as though you’ve made a difference to the world, or at least in someone’s life?

I’d like to imagine that each of us, in our own way has made a difference…

Many of us don’t realize the impact we’ve had on those around us.  And not just those close to us, but often our influence is spread far and wide…

In fact, sometimes the biggest impact comes from the smallest of encounters.  I’m a big believer in the concept of the butterfly effect.

What is the butterfly effect?

In essence, the butterfly effect occurs when a small change is made resulting in a ripple effect, and thus a large or broader change is made.  This term was coined by the mathematician and meteorologist Edward Norton Lorenz.

If you apply it to your personal impact, any small change or influence you make on someone or someone’s life may have a much larger, lasting or impact on others.

As an example, imagine giving advice to a friend.  They in turn pass this advice along to their friends, and before long your advice is spread far and wide.  I just hope it was good advice!   Lol!

This ripple effect is powerful yet hidden to most of us.

Hence, your impact can be far reaching… and without you knowing.

As an example, when I catch up with guys who I used to coach playing football, and they tell me about the coaching and advice they’ve passed onto their kids, a good smattering of it can be attributed to our time playing football together.

When I coached my team, they were my family, and so it wasn’t only football advice I passed along, but life lessons and a perspective on life that many of them still carry to this day.

Clearly, the biggest influence is the impact I’ve had with my kids, Zach, and Sam.  I’ve learned so much from them over the years and it truly is a two-way street.

Now that they are older, they will call or FaceTime me to ask for advice.  Often times they tell me about the piece of advice they’ve passed onto their friends, and so your influence continues on.

Perhaps you’ve read something in one of my essays that had an impact on you and your point of view, then you pass that along to a friend or colleague.  Imagine that person internalising it and then passing it on again…

The fact is that your impact is sometimes far greater than you could ever imagine.

I often find myself passing along titbits of advice that I gleaned from my dad during the course of his life.  He’s been gone 11 years now, yet his advice still rings in my ears to this day.

Clearly there are varying degrees of contribution to mankind, not all of us can win a Nobel Prize that changes the fabric of life on earth but in our own way each of us brings something to the table.

I think we all tend to underplay our contribution to those around us as it’s often momentary or fleeting.

Can you pinpoint the one piece of advice that’s had a profound effect on your life?  If so, who was it from?

I have a few things that are ever present in my mind…

The first is from my dad – “you have to push your own barrow in life

In essence, “the only person in your life that can really help you is you”. His way of telling it wasn’t quite as succinct as I’ve put it here but has the same sentiment.

You are responsible for you!

I’m not sure where I got this next piece of advice (isn’t that the beauty of life), perhaps its an amalgam from many people over the years plus the books I’ve read.

“Life is created neutral and we then put a spin on it based on our history and past behaviours.  The second is that we  control how we react.”

The last one centres around mindset and importance of keeping a positive mindset at all times.  When everything goes to shit, which at some point it invariably will, being able to take an emotional step back from the ledge and look for solutions and a positive approach to overcoming the obstacle.

This has been great advice and something that I’ve passed on many times.  In fact, all three items have surfaced time and again with friends, work colleagues plus Zach and Sam.

Time to take a moment and think about your impact on those around you, especially the ones you love.  Is your impact evident or hidden?   Have you seen it extend beyond your immediate circle?  If so, how does it manifest?

All great questions to ponder before next week!

Until then