You never know the impact you’ll have
If you’re not familiar with the term, check out the TED talk “Everyday Leadership” by Drew Dudley.
It’s a good video and Warning: I’m about to spoil it for the sake of this post…It’s a story of an everyday person, Drew, making a seemingly inconsequential joke involving couple of mutual strangers and then finding out years later that the chance encounter led to their eventual marriage and that the couple credit Drew with forever changing their lives. The truly remarkable thing about the story is that the encounter was so unremarkable that Drew has no recollection of it.
I’ve certainly had people who’ve left an imprint on my life and I hoped I’ve been able to pass my own along but I was genuinely floored when it came back around to me line this.
In 2017 a great developer at Shape was moving on to start his own company and he pulled me aside to let me know he was leaving. He had become an accomplished public speaker in a short period of time, was traveling around the world at events, and had recently started writing a book on machine learning and computer security. When we got to a conference room he let me know that I had personally inspired him to start speaking publicly and to eventually write the book all because of a meeting we both were in about a year or two earlier. I had never worked closely with him, I was never his manager, and I only barely had recollection of the meeting let alone anything I said in it.
This alone was such great feedback, but then he sent me this picture when the book was finally published.
It was even recently included in a Humble Bundle so you know it’s actually a good book! I still smile wide thinking I helped anyone and it was so beautiful to be reminded that the little things do actually matter.
Aside from telling impactful managers how much you appreciate them because holy crap are they the least appreciated people on the planet, the point of this post is that you never know what might be a catalyst in changing somebody else’s life. It might be a smile, it might be picking up trash off the sidewalk, it might be a joke or a pat on the back. It’s not that anything in their life is bad or that people can’t change on their own, it’s just that the slightest nudge can change a routine and most of our growth happens when we get bumped off the path we’re on and take a moment to look around.
Positively affect others every day, you never know what kind of an impact you might have.