We live in a culture, a society, who values “big stage” impact. How many followers you have, the weeks on the bestseller list your book enjoys, your Facebook moment of fame, the reach of your brand, company or supposed status are all things that dictate our every decision. But in our frenzy for our own five minutes of fame and the “impact” and influence that we suppose come along with it; how quickly we forget what true impact looks like.
A few weekends ago, my husband and I were watching Undercover Boss, a reality TV show where a high level executive goes “undercover” in his own company to see how it runs and to meet those people responsible every day in part, for his own success. The show always seems to make me teary eyed at the end when the big reveal comes and the passionate people the CEO met along the way are rewarded for the good work they do, however menial it may seem.
The two episodes we watched were of two CEOs leading large companies with thousands of employees. Each man had reached the pinnicle of success in the buisness world, yet both of them had a similar refrain when asked what drove them — what influenced them the most.
I want to honor my mother — I work hard hoping she is watching and proud.
My father taught me everything — I hope he would be proud of the man I’ve become.
Both men had lost these role models early in life, and neither their mom or dad were famous by the world’s standards or had a mass Instagram following. But you know what they did? Where they invested their impact?
Into their children’s lives.
And years later, their children are now investing into thousands of lives every day.
I love my generation. I love the fire, the passion we have to change the world, to make our one life count, to be significant, to be known, to be “successful,” and to find our purpose. But, perhaps, in our quest to build a platform, see our name in sparkling lights, and to make an big splashy impact, we have forgotten what true impact looks like.
True impact is found in the quiet moments between parent and child, the older whispering to the younger, You can do it, I believe in you.
True impact is embedded deep within the coach who mentors his players on his off days.
True impact is the kindergarten teacher who cries on her way home about her seemingly futile attempts to show love to the children who don’t see what love is at home.
True impact is the couple who perserveres through the valleys of marriage because they know the mountaintops and the testimony of God’s grace and mercy will be worth it.
True impact is the father who prioritizes spending time with his kids before his own leisure time.
True impact is the single parent working multiple jobs, striving to make a future for their children.
True impact is the friend who strives to be the 2am friend — the one you can count on to be there, even when the bad days outnumber the good.
True impact is the single person who serves faithfully without complaint in church ministries, even if their time is often taken for granted unlike those with “family responsibilities.”
True impact is the healthcare worker who pauses during a long shift to ask a family member to tell them more about the loved one they are slowly losing.
True impact is the business professional whose bottom line doesn’t involve just money, but the colleagues and the culture they interact with and cultivate daily.
True impact is found in the listening not the telling.
In the mundane, not the magical.
In the details, not the flashy displays.
In the face to face, not on screens.
In the relationships, not the paycheck.
In the time invested.
In the everyday.
In the seemingly momentous occasions and in the tiniest personal victories.
In the simple gestures of smiles and thinking of you notes.
In the coffee date memories
In the tears
In the joy
In the walking beside.
This is where true impact is found.
Let’s not miss it by chasing an elusive grander stage.
True impact doesn’t need a platform. True impact just needs a willing participant.