Sunday, November 13, 2011

Your Secret Weapon. . .Use it Wisely

We each have a secret weapon and I urge you to use yours wisely. 

The weapon? It is your impact. You are always having an impact. . . all of the time, without exception. It may create a positive or negative response in any given moment, but your power to have an impact is always present.

When we interact with others, even if we don't speak, we are having an impact. If we pass someone on the street, we have an impact. When we answer the telephone, we have an impact. When we ride public transportation or go to a movie, or walk our dogs, we are having an impact.

The opportunity list for impact can go on and on, but I think you get the picture. As human beings, sharing this planet and all of it's resources, our individual impact can have an effect on our fellow humans, animals and even our environment. Being wise about how we use our impact could make for a more pleasant experience of life for yourself and others. Being aware of impact can also protect you from adverse reactions from others. 

Since wherever we go, whatever we do, we are having an impact, it makes sense to be aware of the power we each wield. In light of that fact, it seems like a noteworthy phenomena to hold in our awareness. 

Sometimes our impact may be intentional, such as smiling at someone or saying hello. In that case, we intended to be friendly, which would be an intended positive impact. Other times our impact may be unintentional such as when we are deep in thought and don't acknowledge a greeting from someone else. At times like this, we might think we're invisible and our frown belongs to us and has no impact on anyone else, but it does. 

We may also choose to have a negative impact, which would fall into the intentional category. An example of an intended negative impact may be yelling an obscenity at a fellow driver that just cut you off. 

As I observe and interact with many people every day, I frequently notice impact and find that most often, the negative impact many people have goes unnoticed by the person responsible for creating it. 

A recent example was noted on facebook. As I scrolled through posts on my page, I came across one that was in stark contrast to most of the postings I typically see from my friends, which are usually intended to be positive. This one was obviously written in anger and contained profanity laced throughout a ranting complaint about an unnamed individual. The purpose of the post was puzzling to me since the person about whom the complaint was made was not on the receiving end, but innocent readers as myself were being hit with it. I am quite sure, the author did not intend to offend me or others, thus this post fell into the unintended impact category. 

Since unintended impact can be a common experience in our human experience, I urge you to be aware of what you intend, and then act accordingly. Do you really want to offend, insult or ignore those you care about, or even the stranger you are sitting next to on a flight across the country? How does it feel when you become aware of your impact? What is the impact you want to have in your everyday life? 

If you are on the receiving end of an intended or unintended negative impact, I urge you to look beyond the words, actions or email and be curious what may have been present in the person that created the impact. When we can look a bit more deeply, what we will usually find is someone that is afraid and feeling vulnerable. When I see vulnerability in another person, I can find compassion and when that happens I am no longer offended by the negative impact my counterpart created. 

I believe we are all doing our best with what is on our plate of life at the present time. Unfortunately, sometimes we forget that we are all connected. Our pain or our joy is not a private experience. It leaks. It leaks out and affects others. 

So I encourage you to be aware of your impact. When you are feeling off balance, angry or upset, be extra aware that your negative feelings may be leaking and affecting others. 

If it is your intent to create a positive impact most of the time, I encourage you to take excellent care of yourself since when you feel good, you are most likely going to be having an impact that is of equal value. 

Bottom line...stay awake....clean up the messes your negative impact may have caused and remember those that affected you in a negative way may not have even known they even fired their weapon.