Muhammad Ali made a huge impact in the world throughout his life in many ways, not just his boxing. But he also made an impact in his death too – he had stated beforehand just how he wanted his funeral to be.
Not only did this mean his executor and family only had to carry out instructions, lessening the decisions that had to be made, but he got to give the world one final gift – that of emphasizing the essence of all faiths, as demonstrated in his wish to have them represented at his funeral.
So if you had died recently, what kind of impact would you have wanted your life to have made?
Many people make an impact by the creation of their children, who go on to have their own children and in that way, whole generations of families get to impact many others.
But even if you have children and consider them your biggest contribution to the world, there’s room for more impact (and especially so if you’re childless).
I considered this question recently because of reading a fabulous book, ‘Focus on Impact’ by Wendy Lipton Dibner. She works with what she calls ‘difference-makers’ (oh, yes, that’s me, okay!) and the book takes you through her process of helping small business owners get their message out into the world in a more effective way.
One of the questions she asked was about what your unique gift is.
Her way of determining this is to ask family, friends and colleagues who know you well the following question:
What have you seen me do that is amazing?
It’s quite a powerful question.
For me, my brother Simon with whom I have worked a lot in the past, wrote a very concise sentence:
Consistently turning adversity into something positive.
I reacted when I saw those words – I simply thought ‘oh yeah, of course’.
But I really paid attention when I noticed that several other people had said the same thing, just in different words.
It was something that I hadn’t really noticed myself. It’s just what I do.
And that’s what your unique gift is likely to be – something that comes to you so easily, you just do it.
Your unique gift is a major contributing factor to whatever impact you make on your world whether it be the world of your family, the world of your work, or the bigger stage.
If you don’t know what your unique gift is, I highly recommend daring to ask your friends and family that question, and being open to receiving the answers.
Once you have the answers, look for the common theme; a thread or a pattern that more than one person has said.
You’re looking underneath the words here, because people use many different ways of expressing the same thing.
Once you can see a pattern, you may find yourself more fully able to answer the question entitling this blogpost: What Sort Of Impact Do You Make In The World?
Sure, you might not be as well-known as Muhammad Ali, but I bet you already make an impact – you just might not know how that comes across.
This is an important subject to me because of my reflections on end of life and how that is taken care of.
It’s one of the themes behind the questions in my workbook Before I Go: Practical Questions to Ask and Answer Before You Die.
Look out for the launch of my online course where you get support to go through this workbook with others doing the same thing.
It’s happening in early August – if you’re keen to know more, email me with ONLINE COURSE in the subject line. I’ll put you on a special list and you’ll be the first to hear about it.
And finally – if you know your unique gift, please share it with us in the comments box!