I will never forget having the honor of speaking at my dad’s funeral. Looking out at the large gathering, I realized that over his long life, he made a positive impact on the world. He was not wealthy, nor was he a prominent leader. Yet those of us who spoke of him, from his children to his friends to people who knew him from a distance, all talked about the incredible impact he had on our lives.
What kind of impact will you make? To live a life with impact, you must sustain positive momentum, manage your resources, and focus your life.
1. Sustain Positive Momentum
To live a life with impact, you need the power that comes from momentum. Like the freight train that slowly gathers speed, a person of impact creates sustained momentum through positive action. “What you do has far greater impact than what you say,” remarks Stephen Covey. Each positive action is like a shovel full of coal that fuels the boiler of a steam engine.
Momentum isn’t created in a day, a week, or even a month. Momentum is created over years and even decades of positive actions. You create momentum to impact individuals when you take positive action to invest in others. My small action today to spend time encouraging someone leaves a mark on that person’s life.
Your small choice today to do something seemingly small, like writing an article or drafting a proposal, might seem insignificant. However, every world-changing company, product, book, and revolution was birthed through positive action. The sum of many small actions creates momentum that impacts your family, friends, coworkers, and everyone you encounter.
2. Manage Your Resources
To make a positive impact, you must also manage your resources, directing them toward the areas you want to impact. Each person has three resources that can be managed: time, energy, and money.
Time—To make a positive impact, you need to allocate your time strategically. Time is our most sacred resource. Author and mega-church pastor Bill Hybels says, “Next to the Bible, your calendar is your most sacred document.” How much attention do you give each day to allocating your time? Do you allow enough margin to impact people?
Energy—To make a positive impact, you need energy. Physical energy comes from a healthy diet, exercise, and good sleep habits. Mental energy comes from reading. Emotional energy comes from friendships and hobbies. Spiritual energy comes from meditation, reflection, prayer, and worship. How much attention do you give to creating and sustaining energy
Money—To make a positive impact, you need financial resources. It’s not the amount of money you have. Instead, have you arranged your finances in a way that allows you the freedom you need to make an impact? This involves creating a sustainable lifestyle that minimizes the amount of time you have to work to “keep the lights on” and allows you the margin you need to impact the world. What could you do to reduce overhead expenses and increase recurring income to create more financial margin?
3. Focus Your Life
To make a big impact, you also need to focus your life. What is the story of your life? What makes your heart come alive? Where are you in your journey? Ask yourself these types of questions on a regular basis. People of impact intentionally focus their lives on what matters.
Years ago, a wise leader shared his strategy of taking quarterly sabbaticals. I’ve sustained this habit for nine years, and it has changed my life. During three days off the grid, I reconnect with my goals, reflect on what I’ve accomplished, and plan the next ninety days.
My focus continues in weekly and daily habits. Each weekend, I take an hour to reconnect with my quarterly plan, review the previous week, and plan the next one. Daily, I take fifteen minutes to remember my weekly plan, review the previous day, and plan my current day. This focuses my energy on my priorities.
What impact will you make?
Impact happens when you sustain momentum with positive choices, manage your resources, and focus your life. Someday your child will speak at your funeral. What will he or she say about the impact you had on your family and on the world?
Impact is written Darrell Amy