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The 1 Thing You’ll Never-Ever Know. And, Strangely, It’s The 1 Thing You Can NEVER Forget

by Todd R. Nordstrom

I’m a geek. I like to measure everything. If I write an article, I like to see analytics. If I give advice, I like to track results. And, if I create a product, I like to monitor sales. Seems pretty standard, right? Measurement of our efforts is good business. But, is measurement as important as we believe—number of likes, shares, clicks, views, transactions, and sales? Do the things we track define whether or not our efforts were good or bad? Or, is there something else we should consider?

Here’s a more interesting question: What is your definition of impact? 

Over the past couple of months, I’ve thought about this question numerous times. Why? Because three weird incidents have given me a glimpse of the impact many of us create on a daily basis without ever realizing it.

Incident #1: Recently, while jumping on a video conference call with a sizeable group of people, one of the participants introduced herself by stating that she became passionate about an industry after watching a video/podcast of me speaking about it many years ago. Here’s the kicker. My speech was focused on the power of appreciation. The fact that she switched industries because of my speech is an honor, to say the least. However, it wasn’t the intention of the speech. Yet, look at the impact I never realized I had made.

Incident #2: A few weeks ago, I was reconnecting with a former client on the phone. We were swapping stories and updating each other on our lives since the last time we spoke. And, he’s a funny guy so between all of our stories were plenty of jokes. At one point in our conversation, I repeated a quote that I had learned from him. “The good times are never as good as you’d imagined they’d be, but the bad times are also never as bad as they feel in the moment.” When I spoke those words, my former client said, “That’s so true. Where did you learn that?” And, I replied, “I learned it from you.” He had no idea how much a conversation we had years earlier impacted me.

Incident #3: This summer I attended my class reunion. It was a blast. I reconnected with former classmates, reminisced about the past, and shared updates about the present. However, while standing at a gathering, I was approached by the wife of a childhood friend. A decade ago my friend, his wife, and his children were involved in a horrific car accident. My friend was in a coma. I lived on the opposite side of the country. Still, I wanted to help. The only place in life I had any influence was online—with readers of my blog. So, I wrote about my friend. I explained why he was a wonderful person. And, I asked my readers for donations. Could I track the impact? No. But, during my reunion his wife told me, through tears, that my friend still reads the article I wrote about him daily. Again, I had created an impact I never expected. 

So, what’s the “1 Thing You’ll Never-Ever Know, But Can Never Forget”?

Humans are strange creatures. We all interact on daily basis—sometimes with ample intention, and sometimes without any intention whatsoever. Still, no matter how much intention we have, or don’t have, it’s imperative to understand that our interactions create impact. You, me, we ALL, impact others on a daily basis. It could be positive. It could be negative. And, it could be meaningless.

Listen, I could have written this post about intentional or unintentional negative incidents—where someone (or even me) impacted someone in a bad way. Maybe harsh words were shared. Maybe someone was offended. Maybe that negativity stuck with them for years, decades, or even a lifetime. It happens. And, that’s the whole point of this post.

Measurement is good business—tracking the impressions, clicks, results, etc. But, it’s important to realize that our efforts should also focus on the impact we may never be able to measure—those people you never realize you’re influencing. 

Sure, you might get lucky (as I did) to have a few people share the impact you have made on their lives or careers. But, I think it’s safer to assume that you’ll never know—how your smile impacted someone’s morning, your advice helped in a decision-making process, or your ability to just sit and listen allowed someone to simply vent. 

Here are a few things to consider tomorrow as you head back into your life:

  1. You impact others. Your attitude, energy, and words can have a long-lasting influence on others. You need to make an effort to create the impact you want to be known for.
  2. Others impact you. Their attitude, energy, and words can have an immediate or long-lasting influence on you. You must decide how much impact you’ll allow.
  3. None of us can predict where impact happens…so, seek more. Of course, we all hope to impact others positively. So, focus your efforts on helping others. However, we also don’t know where or when we’ll be impacted. It could be a course, a book, a relationship, or a simple interaction. Focus on searching for positive influences and impact. When you do, you will find it.

We all want to become our best selves. The only way to accomplish it is to learn from others, about ourselves. And, here’s a great starting place:

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