I recently co-hosted an event with a few amazing friends and colleagues. It was called Purposeful You, with the goal of helping attendees to find the truest version of themselves in life, health, and business. Spoiler alert: it was awesome and went so well. But full disclosure: getting to that point stressed all of us out to the point of a few sleepless nights before the event.
We created this event to address three big pillars that affect women’s lives, three areas we all have unique expertise in. It seemed like a natural fit, and that each of us could easily speak to our aspect of wellness – physical, financial, mental/emotional. We trusted each other in that and everyone was left to their own devices to craft the perfect session.
Turns out, that perfect session wasn’t so easy for any of us.
For my part, I struggled to come up with an outline for about a month. Like, you want me to talk about mental/emotional well-being? WHERE DO I START?!? On top of that, in our initial meeting, my cohorts gave me all this great feedback that I’m good at talking about everything from work/life balance to finding purpose. That is a huge range. How am I supposed to whittle that down into 25 minutes of impact for every person in the room? Well, after few weeks of trying to figure out how to do that, I realized – really, I remembered – it’s not possible.
You will never have an impact on every person in the room.
Or, you’ll never have your intended impact on every person. But, your intended impact will generate more overall impact to the people who need it in that moment, and I’d argue that’s far more powerful in the grand scheme of things.
So that’s what I got clear on – my intended impact. And once I did, the outline flowed easily, and 25 minutes felt like five. My talk as part of this event ended up as the most authentic, natural, and impactful talk I’ve ever given.
What’s interesting is that the content of this particular talk was kind of a riff on this entire idea of figuring out your intended impact. I mean, my entire business is essentially a riff on this idea. But. Still, it’s something that so many of us need to be reminded of often.
It is a continual struggle for a lot of us to please everyone. To be everything to everyone. To make sure we’re meeting everyone’s needs.
In reality, that’s, well, unrealistic.
Since this truth was front and center, I noticed several instances in the following week where it came up – one of them being in one of my co-hosts. We got together for breakfast a few days later, and she shared that she had struggled with what she wanted to talk about at the event. That she had lots of things to cover and wanted to make sure she was addressing everyone, that everyone would have a takeaway. And then she shared that she was having trouble figuring that out in her business as a whole too.
I listened, nodded, totally related to where she was coming from. And then I asked if she was open to feedback or advice in this moment. When she said yes, I told her exactly what I had told myself: That will never happen. You will never be able to do that. And if you start from the place of understanding that truth, and then owning your intended impact, you’ll help all the people you need and want to help in the ways you want to help them.
I immediately saw the tension go out of her shoulders. You’re right, she said. I have to think about that, she said. It’s a good reminder, she said.
About a week later, I attended a panel of women entrepreneurs at my coworking space. There were lots of good tidbits, but one conversation really stood out. A woman in the audience shared a deeply personal story, a heavy struggle that was weighing her down – she was making some big changes and transitions in her life and career, and she was running into this situation of not being able to get everyone on board. Basically, she was finding that some of the people in her life were not seeing the takeaways, and she was really struggling with the feeling of how to please everyone while staying true to herself.
I instantly said under my breath, “never happen.” And just as I was doing that, one of the panelists shared an equally personal story with an equally strong message: you will never please everyone in your life, she said. You might lose people, she said. But the people who stick around will be there 100%, she said. And she’s right.
We see and hear versions of this same message from lots of sources, in references to pretty much every part of our lives, from work to home life and everywhere in between and around: make sure you’re taking care of everyone. There’s a lot of pressure to please people, even if you don’t particularly consider yourself a people-pleaser. (I don’t, and sometimes I still feel versions of the pressure to conform to this message.) And it’s especially hard to reconcile this when we have big hearts and big dreams.
I think one of the ways people try to counteract this feeling, this challenge, is with data and definition. As an example, “they” say that when it comes to business, you have to niche down. You can’t be everything to everyone, so figure out exactly what you do and exactly who and what your ideal customer looks like. Then be that one thing to them, specifically and only. Eh, I get that perspective, but I don’t agree it’s the whole picture or solution for everyone. (Trust me, I’ve been through this ten times over.)
And to be clear, I don’t know the whole picture or have the solution for everyone. But, here’s where I propose we can start:
Since you’ll never have an impact on everyone, what if you started with impact for yourself first?
What if you took the time to figure out and really understand what impact feels like in your world? What if you exposed all the shoulds you’re feeling and took them out of the picture? And once you’re clear on all that, what if you found the ways you could translate that same feeling, your intended impact into the broader world?
The prevailing message is that it’s not about you. My argument is that sometimes, it is.
Or at least, sometimes, that’s where it starts. Your own heart will always be a part of your big dream.
If something has changed your life, the chances are good it’ll change someone else’s too. If you believe in it, people will believe in it too. It won’t ever be a game-changer for everyone in the room. But if you start from the place of knowing that fact, and then knowing your intended impact, I can pretty much guarantee you’ll generate more of it anyway.
Here’s to your intended impact.
Struggling to figure out your intended impact in life or business? Let’s talk about it. Schedule a call with me directly below, or email me anytime.