How Do You Determine Your True Impact? (Hint: It's Not About Size or Your Ability to Scale)
I was pleasantly surprised the other day when one of my coaching clients said they wanted to talk about what a post I had written called Are You Ready And Willing To Share The Wonder Of You? I can’t deny that I was moved and in fact, I could feel my ego take a slight bow.
I know the cool thing here would be to say that I write because it’s cathartic. Or I write for me and I don’t worry about about the audience. Something along the lines of Coco Chanel’s often-noted quote: “I don’t care what you you think about me. I don’t think about you at all.” I get it. That’s very artsy, hip and trendy. But I’m not that way at all. I can’t and would never deny that I’m always flattered when someone says the enjoyed something I wrote or that it had an impact on them.
But what she said next was even more intriguing. My client shared that she had listened to some of my music online. She added that she particularly liked an instrumental I had written called Fracaso. What made me laugh was that of the 20 or so songs that I’ve posted on Soundcloud, that one was made with the least amount of effort or thought.
In fact, I wrote and recorded it on the spot while participating in Michael Neill’s Creating the Impossible (CTI) program two years ago. By the way, if you’re looking to jump start your creativity, I highly recommend this wonderful program. You can learn more about it at https://www.michaelneill.org/cti/ - yes, another plug for coaches and programs I admire and have learned from...
Two amazing things happened during that program...
First, I did something that had been on my bucket list for quite some time: I launched a support group for individuals with Congenital Heart Disease. As a 56 year old that had open heart surgery when I was 10, I’m beyond grateful to have the healthy life I enjoy. I wanted to support others in doing the same and encourage them to take care of themselves.
Second, as part of my creativity game, I committed to creating something - a song, a post, or something else entirely - every day for 90 days. Frascaso was a two guitar experiment I wrote and recorded on the spot and honestly didn’t think much of it. Somewhat interesting and at best, it was an imitation of the instrumentals my favorite guitarist, Steve Howe had written. In the spirit of creativity and accepting success and failure, I got curious what the word Failure was in another language. Fracaso is the Spanish word for failure.
What’s my point in sharing the above? Really short and simple: We never know how our creativity will impact someone. Whether it’s a piece of art we create, a song we write, a post that we well, post, you just never know what someone else we see in it for themselves.
Finally, as I see it, There is no such thing as a Big or Small Impact. There’s only Impact and Being of Service. When a nonprofit leader I coach says “We’re just a small nonprofit”, it gets me on onto one of my favorite soapboxes: There are no Big or Small Nonprofit Organizations. I remind these leaders that impact isn’t determined by budgets, dollar signs, number of staff members or other standard determinations of scale. Rather, if their organization is having the impact on those they want to serve, that’s the key measurement.
I truly encourage you to share whatever your gifts are; whether it’s art, music, coaching, ventriloquism (I couldn’t resist as I still aspire!), basket weaving or belly dancing. And don’t think of those gifts as big or small! That’s not how you value them. Measure them by their power to reach, change and point someone in a new direction.
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Robert Grabel is the President of Nonprofit Now! You can find his posts here and at www.robertgrabel.com