Growing up in a family of educators and coaches, I was constantly exposed to the importance of creating positive impacts on others around you. I saw my parents spend hours and hours working on a daily basis with one goal in mind; making a positive impact in every interaction. They lived a life where they influenced others to become better people, and pushed them to achieve their full potential. Their actions were intentional and sincere, something often found few and far between in today’s society.
This concept of creating impacts wasn’t something that I had really internalized or cared about until my 8th grade basketball season came around. As most school teams do, student athletes were “offered” the choice to purchase a team shoe. Everyone did it, but I had decided that rather than purchase the team shoe, I’d buy the "expensive, cool ones", (or so I thought), and encourage a few of my buddies to do the same. After returning home from practice that evening, my father had a stern discussion with me regarding the negative impact I was making with my decision, one which I never really considered because I was too focused on myself. I had never connected before the impact my decisions had on others, and the perceptions that were developed from those decisions. After apologizing to the team, and the athletic director who was also the high school coach (crying like a baby), I started to truly understand how my decisions impacted others around me.
When I was hired for my first teaching and coaching position after college, it was extremely important for me to find a way to stress the importance of “impact making.” I continually worked to develop a core set of values that I felt would help model this impact behavior. It was during this time that I started to believe in what I call the 3E’s. There are numerous lessons to live by and other philosophies on making an impact, but I kept coming back to three extremely important components in daily living that were helping me truly make a difference as an “impact maker.”
While the top two seem to be very similar, I always felt that with energy must come sincere enthusiasm for every action, every day. I knew I needed to create an environment of energy and enthusiasm to offer my students the support they needed to connect and apply these principles to create genuine, lasting differences in their lives. It wasn’t enough to just be there. To float through life staying above the negative impact, but never really drifting high enough to make positive ones was not acceptable, and it was not the story I was trying to create. As I continued to invest in these values, focusing on truly engaging other people offered me the opportunity to take my impacts further. Life isn’t a junior high dance where you can be a wallflower and expect others to make the first impact. It’s ready, primed for you to get out there and show how you can make a difference adding value to others lives.
As a current college professor, I constantly search for ways to connect "real world" concepts further with my students every day. The notion of personal branding, and living each day with a purpose of making a positive impact on others is a principle that I truly believe in, and one that can be utilized in every environment they will become a part of. Their diploma and experience is crucial, but their differentiating factor is going to be the value of the relationships they have created throughout their college experience, and the ones they continue to strive to create every day by infusing their daily actions with the 3E’s.
My students had the opportunity to read the book "Impressions" by Dr. Coyte Cooper this past year. It was a way to challenge their thinking beyond the classroom, and to acknowledge how their current and future actions impact their lives, and those around them. Maybe they went through a case of the 8th grade shoe blues which changed their way of thinking, but ultimately Impressions was a way to add value to their lives and hopefully create an army of impact makers.
Let's face it, at the end of the day, life revolves around building relationships and hopefully making the world a better place one positive impact at a time. By utilizing Dr. Coopers book I truly believe my students have a better understanding of who they are, where they want to go, and how they plan to get there. Hopefully their impact making is contagious, infecting others around them to live life the way it was intended….. with energy, enthusiasm, and engagement!!
My mom always said, you only have today that is promised… so you better go make sure you make it a good one!!
Get out there and make a positive impact, and remember your impact stories in the process!
Scott Grant is the President / CEO of Triple Threat Leadership, LLC, www.triplethreatleadership.com; and Assistant Professor of Business at The University of Findlay. Contact Scott at email@example.com or @MrGrant1161