Many want to have an impact, to make a difference, to be seen and to be heard.
One can have an impact and stand out in ways that generates attention but not admiration.
What can we learn from people who make an impact in ways that generate goodwill?
Outcomes. Scale. Iteration.
Three behaviors are commonly seen in impactful people we want to be like.
a) Outcomes: They focus. They focus on outcomes versus process. Deliverables vs drama.
b) Scale: They find ways to have a far greater radius of impact by projecting far and wide.
c) Iteration: They continuously improve and use time as an edge.
Spend time one focusing on one or more of three outcomes.
a) Help make someone or something better: Impactful people we admire tend to be generous and kind. They give, share, teach, share, show and help grow an idea, a person or firm.
b) Grow skills: Practice craft. Build muscle. Learn.
c) Create/ Immerse themselves in tattoo experiences:If the core of existence is experiences, impactful people create, participate, and enable in experiences that give them or others joy and ideally create tattoos in the mind by being memorable.
If one is not growing others or oneself or having an experience that is joyful or pleasant, why are we doing what we do?
Clearly in many cases we spend time on things that are difficult and unpleasant because of illness, bad luck, a lack of opportunities, or the constraints of a job.
With a little luck and help over time we need to find time to grow from these challenges, find ways to help others and to lessen the negatives and look on the optimistic side of things to have an impact.
Successful people find ways to scale in many ways of which the three most powerful levers are those of stories, talent, and technology.
a) Stories: Stories scale. They pass from person to person. They echo across time and space. Learn to be a good storyteller and your ability to blend imagination, metaphor and insight will ripple and reverberate.
b) Talent: A powerful way to scale is through talent. By building teams and leveraging the impact of others and their skills. By teaching and growing talent, a person scales and grows through other people’s growth.
c) Technology: Today technology allows a professor teaching a class on Happiness at Yale or Justice at Harvard to share their knowledge with worldwide audiences. Modern platforms, cloud computing, powerful and democratized technologies like the mobile phone enables a person at home using Tik-Tok to end up with a top-rated television special on Netflix seen all around the world.
Surround yourself with and channel through talent.
The most impactful people use time as a weapon in three ways.
a) Only Asset: They realize it is the only real asset since it the one they cannot make or buy more of. If someone is wasting their time or trying to buy it for cheap the realize they are paying with their lives and they walk away as soon as they can.
b) Continuous learning: They constantly learn by reflecting on what has gone before and their experiences to improve and grow. They realize it is not experiences themselves but reflecting on experience that one grows from. Many look back at each day, celebrating what worked and try to understand from the mistakes and missteps that were made.
c) Sequencing: They sequence their days and schedule to do the things that matter the most first before they lose control of their calendars and fall into the pincers of the urgent or the cacophony of distractions and digital stream where activity is confused with productivity.
In the end there is only time and how we spend our days is how we spend our lives.
Sculptures by Alexander Calder
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Rishad Tobaccowala (@rishad) is the author of the bestselling “Restoring the Soul of Business: Staying Human in the Age of Data” published by HarperCollins globally in January 2020. It has been described as an “operating manual” for managing people, teams and careers in the age we live in and The Economist Magazine called it perhaps the best recent book on Stakeholder Capitalism. Business and Strategy named it among the best business books of the year and the best book on Marketing in 2020. Rishad is also a speaker, teacher and advisor who helps people think, feel and see differently about how to grow their companies, their teams and themselves. More at https://rishadtobaccowala.com/