This blog was originally published on CNBC Bullish on Books Blog by Gloria McDonough-Taub. It has been update to reflect the current times.
Every once in a while, I meet with an author who really gets me fired up about their book. Nancy Solomon is the author of Impact!: What Every Woman Needs to Know to Go From Invisible to Invincible.
WAIT! —It's for you guys, too. I mean, who doesn't want to make an impact; who doesn't want their life to count, who doesn't want to make an impact on their employees, customers, business on their own legacy? I’ve asked Nancy to write up a post - in total belief that making an impact is really what we all truly want.
Think of Impact as the fingerprint, not as the finger that printed it.
It is the consequence of having been born, lived our lives, and passed on to the next place. It is the marker we leave, and it's what's left over once we've fossilized.
Our Impact is not what we did, but the consequence of the action.
Our Impact is not what we said, but the outcome that came from our saying it.
Our Impact is not what we thought, but the action that sprang from our ideas.
Our intrinsic desire to create a positive Impact in our lives and the world is one of life's most enduring motivators. Irrespective of the venue or demographic I work with, the question most frequently asked of me is: "How can I communicate my value to my organization and get the recognition I deserve How can I have a real impact?" Why? When we are thwarted in our efforts to make a personally meaningful difference in the world, we feel invisible.
Under 'normal' circumstances, there is a reciprocal relationship between your Impact and your organization.
But times aren’t normal now, are they?
To sum it up, many of you are in a job that three people once covered. You've received no additional compensation for your new role, and some of you have even had to tolerate a pay cut. Steep budget cuts require you to do more with less. These times necessitate your self-reliance, but many of you are so overwhelmed, stretched beyond your limits, and internally depleted that you're unable to recalibrate or refuel. Add to this equation the deterioration of many of your professional relationships: the colleague you once collaborated with is now your competition for the scarce headcount that just opened up. Teamwork? Not when survival is at stake!
And you're going to continue to put up with this; why? Oh, because the economy is upside down, unemployment hovers at 6%, and, thank God, at least you have a job. Not a bad strategy for the short term. One of my clients has a manager who recently refused to approve the promotion she'd earned because, and these are his words, "It's an employer's market." De-motivated, this experience diminished her desire to have a positive impact on her org. She's already crafting her exit strategy. (Repeat after me: Retention Crisis).
Did I happen to mention that this is all good news? Why is it, you ask? Because "Who we are impacts everything we do," and when our lives are running smoothly, we don't have the incentive for the self-exploration that can positively alter the course of our lives. Sleeping dogs and all that.
However, nothing will stimulate the urge for self-awareness more than a full-blown disruption of life. Add money to the equation, and it is guaranteed that you'll examine your values, priorities, and goals. The more stressors you have, the greater the motivation to become self-aware. Have you recently begun to ask yourself what's most important to you?
Engagement is the opposite of invisibility, just as disengagement is the opposite of invincibility. In a sentence: if you want to have a sustainable Impact, you must be self-engaged. Note: Self-engagement is a prerequisite for engagement at work.
The gift here is that although external resources may (temporarily) be scarce, you’ll discover that your internal resources are as plentiful as ever. Jobs will come and go, relationships will change, but as long as you can count on yourself to be conscious and accountable, you will always be powerful. Always. I suspect that most of you are looking forward to looking back on this time in your life. Until then, there are several specific things that you can do to increase your Impact both personally and professionally. I'll share three of them here.
1. Self of Steam:
There is a significant correlation between our Impact and our self-esteem or, as my daughter called it when she was little "self of steam." Self-esteem is an assessment of how we feel about who we are and what we accomplish. High self-esteem is fundamental for life success, and a solid line connects it to our self-confidence. Self-confidence leads to self-trust and healthy risk-taking, which, in turn, begets innovative thinking and creative problem-solving. And voilà—you have Impact!
Only make promises you can keep- to yourself as well as others.
Love someone today- start with yourself.
Focus on your strengths- your ‘weaknesses’ can wait.
If you don’t like how you’re feeling, then interrupt what you’re thinking: select a thought that corresponds to the feeling you desire. Feeling stressed from too much to do? Repeat after me: “I’m managing my miracles.”
Keep an accomplishment journal. Write in it every day. (Yes, on some days, simply getting out of bed is an accomplishment).
Are those thoughts yours, or is someone else occupying your mind's real estate? Log a day's worth of thoughts and look for the themes.
3. Permission 2.0:
You are your most powerful and impactful self when you give yourself permission to be authentic and when you show up in your life like a stadium light instead of as a refrigerator bulb. The simplest, most effective way of generating Impact is to get out of your way and stop apologizing for making a difference.
If you gave yourself permission to play full out in your life, what would you need to change?
What’s one change you can make today?
Self of Steam. Thoughtus-Interruptus. Permission 2.0.
How do you feel about your life? What do you think about your life? What do you want to do with your life? What is the impact you're planning to leave? Answer these questions from a spiritual, emotional, physical and mental perspective. When your expiration date arrives, your Impact, your life's signature, will be the answer to the question, "What did I come here to do, and did I get it done?" To which you would respond___________________.
Impact! is now available on Kindle (yay). You can get your copy here:
As a writer, speaker, facilitator, and coach, Nancy D. Solomon has built her career around one vital question: "What did you come here to do, and are you getting it done?" Solomon is the author of, Impact!: What Every Woman Needs to Know to Go From Invisible to Invincible. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org or +1 425.429.3636.
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