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Impress or Impact

“You can impress from a distance, but you can only impact up close.”

~Howard G. Hendricks

While I worked for the City of Gainesville as a Training and Development Specialist, I, along with some of the other leaders from the organization, used to facilitate sessions based on The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership program by Dr. John C. Maxwell. Several leaders within the organization would spend nearly two years going through this program, growing and developing their leadership ability. At one graduation, I used Hendricks’ quote on the certificate of completion.

I wonder how that quote would be applied today, given our current global circumstances and the mandate to practice “social distancing.” Are we using our efforts and our platforms to impress or impact? My question is not intended to cast or form a judgment regarding others. When I look in the mirror, my face is normally the first one I see.

I fondly recall a story from a book that I read a lot about a Teacher who was walking among a group of people (for those who care, this is my way of letting people know that I am referring to the Holy Scriptures.) The Teacher, moving among the throng of people, noticed that someone had been impacted by His presence. He asked those around Him about the exchange, “Who touched Me?” The response of some in the crowd went something like this, “You have got to be kidding me. Everywhere you turn, someone is touching You. They are touching me, and everyone else around us.”

What the respondent was saying was that people all around were “pressing” up against each other so it was impossible to avoid contact. But the teacher was functioning on an entirely different level. He was fully aware of how the people were impressed with Him, hence the great following. But He also was sensitive enough to know that someone, hoping to operate in anonymity, had a totally different response to His presence. They were not concerned so much with how impressive He was. They needed to be impacted by Him.

I believe that is how you and I can make a difference. Today, we have an opportunity to impact the lives of those around us. So, how can we, while complying with the safety precautions and recommendations concerning the welfare for ourselves and others, make a positive impact?

1) Compassion-we can be concerned, sympathetic, empathetic, kind, merciful, tender, understanding and giving towards other now. I can understand if someone was to respond. “John, are you kidding. Everything you are suggesting to give to another is exactly what I need now.” That is exactly why it is a good idea to adopt this mindset during this time. I believe that everything we do for others, seeded from the right heart, will be returned to us from another.

2) Love-I find it amazing just how much power is stored in an act of love. In my book, Wisdom Clues-Social Wisdom for an Unsocial World, I share that, “Lives have been started and ended in the name of love.” I am confident that we, especially at this time, can make all the difference in the world for someone if we offered them love today, without strings attached.

3) Forgiveness-I think it goes without saying-now is not the time to walk around holding grudges. For most of us, we want the very best for others-even for the person who upset us, neglected us, and abandoned us when we needed them most.

I am sure there are a few people who are still embittered from a previous interaction, an unfortunate encounter with another. If that is your story, please allow me to offer a thought for consideration. Go ahead and do yourself a favor. Release the person and regain your control. The impact they had on you may have been negative but you don’t have to be negative. It may be easier said than done but I promise you, it is worth the effort. You don’t need any additional cares weighing you down at this time. Unforgiveness is a needless weight.

Surely, this is not an exhaustive list. But I believe that if we took those three simple steps, our impact on the lives of those in our circle would last, not only during the crisis, but far beyond.

And if you have not had someone to affirm your greatness today, allow me the privilege of reminding you that U*R IMPT (You Are Important!) Let’s TELL EVERYONE-EXCLUDE NO ONE-REACH SOMEONE with this message.

Share your thoughts or leave your comments on other ways you are positively impacting the lives of others around you.

If you liked the article, please share it with someone who might benefit. And check out some of our previous articles.


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Gainesville, FL 32606

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