In the book, "Jump
: Dare to Do What Scares You in Business and Life," author, Kim Perell, talks about getting really clear on what it is that you really want. Eloquently written and thought provoking, Perell also talks about going from a high level idea of what you want to simplifying what you want into a more granular level. Something that stood out to me in thinking deeper about all this is to really consider what impact I want to have?
Very thought provoking. Have you ever really stopped to think about what the answer to that might look like to you?
A few years ago, I was listening to a podcast episode
with a head hunter that was being interviewed. Something he said resonated with me, but was very uncomfortable to try. He basically said, go to people that you've worked with or spent time with and ask them these questions:
1- "When you think of me, what do you think about?"
2- "What is it that I did that made your life easier?"
It always seems like we never know what kind of impact we have on others. Recently I was able to spend some time supporting extended family members as they honored the life of their father. They had unfortunately lost their mother years ago as well and were now as they put it, orphaned. They expressed gratitude for my siblings and I for being there. What's more, they said that they have been looking up to us for years as shining examples of what it means to be orphaned and to still live life to the fullest.
You see, my siblings and I unfortunately have lost both of our parents as well. First, our mother in 1991, and also our father in 2009. It was humbling to know that for all this time, our extended family members have looked to us and have drawn strength from that. We had no idea. We have simply been living life to the best of our abilities, not realizing that in doing so we were serving the needs of others.
In considering the two questions above posed by the head hunter and going outside the safety net of my comfort zone, I decided to put it to the test.
However, in doing so, I had to put myself out there. I had to put in effort to become the most self aware version of myself. I had to be real with myself and real with others. I really wanted to get to know and understand the value that I brought to others, value that was outside of the voices and justifications in my mind. There was no other way, so I made the difficult and humbling decision to go through what I first thought was going to be an uncomfortable exercise.
However, what resulted was a deeper sense of gratitude for the opportunity that I've had to work with these individuals and am humbled by the impact that I have had on them.
Here are some of the responses when I asked those two questions to friends, family, and colleagues.
1- Someone who is knowledgeable, works hard, and is easy to work with.
2- Very supportive, even if I don’t always agree. And a great teacher!
~ R. T.
1- Hard working, self starter. You will do whatever it takes to get the job done. You always have a plan and execute. you also take the initiative, proactive, and forward thinking.
2- Everything I mentioned above. I never had to worry about your work ethic, you were always on top of it and could rely on the fact that the job would get done. Because you spent the time learning everything about the products and industry, you always had great insight and were proactive about what could/would work better.
~ B. C.
1- You are a source of light. Watching you my whole life, people are naturally drawn to you because of the light that you possess. Your charm, pizazz and spark is something that comes so naturally to you as you automatically share that with others everywhere you go. You brighten the day for others even if your day seems dark. Your example sets a higher standard. Your character is stellar and it's not hard to see.
2- You have the ability to listen attentively. When I've called you or talked with you in person you've always made me feel cared about and validated. Pop did the same thing. You've also made me laugh and smile with your wit that's so funny and spot on. It lifts my spirit. I also look forward to your social media posts.
~ D. S.
1- Sales training.
2- Our conversations we have had. I find you get most excited when you train and help others achieve their potential.
~ K. J.
1- I think of someone that I can count on to get things done and work hard. You don't need to be told how to do something, but rather go out and figure it out. I think the most important things about someone you work with in business is that they work hard and can work on their own rather than needing help every 5 seconds, both of which you exemplify.
2- You have helped me in the following ways. Going out and figuring out how to get things done, good ideas and suggestions for things I should look into and pursue. Finding good contacts, and lastly, and probably the most important is being encouraging and fun to work with. Now I'm done.
~ J. M.
1- Happy go lucky, eternal optimist.
2- Great resource for me as a sounding board, someone who would give me valid and legit feedback, and who would provide valuable input that led to better decisions for the entire group. ~ R. O.
1- Your whit and charm are not to be surpassed. Unexpected hilarity is always enjoyed.
2- I love how you always make your life happen. You get up and go. You bring others along for the ride, and you are an amazing example.
~ L. S.
1- Highly educated! A renaissance man. Entertaining! Makes learning fun. Makes those he encounters better for knowing him.
2- You challenged me to challenge myself to be ever learning. This has made my life as a whole better. Easy is for the lazy. You made me not want to be lazy. Helped me to look at things differently, or from a different viewpoint.
Seriously one of the best people I know and definitely one of those I’m most grateful I’ve become acquainted with.
~ A. W.
Now, what do others think of you and what do you do to make life easier for those in your circle? I encourage you to put this in play in your life. Go ahead, ask someone you've worked with or spent time with in some capacity such as a manager, direct report, friend, family member, community leader, etc., and send them a note like this:
"Hey, I’m doing a bit of self reflection to hone in on when it comes to the value that I provide to those I’ve worked with in a business setting (as a subordinate, colleague, employee, manager, advisor, etc.). Will you please candidly answer these two questions?
1- "When you think of me, what do you think of?"
2- "What is it that I did that made your life easier?"
Now, if you're like most people I've met, you probably aren't a big fan of asking for help. You're not really fond of being the recipient of compliments. You might not like receiving a helping hand when you feel like you are completely capable of taking care of yourself.
Well, I've got some news for you. Sometimes it's not about you! This time, it's about others and the impact you've had on them.
As you move forward with your daily life, might I suggest that you prepare to serve, and, prepare to be served.