We hear a lot about impact these days. We hear the word used in company mission statements (like ours!), in media interviews with influential people, and pretty much everywhere on social media. Creating impact is clearly important and something we should all strive for. But what exactly does creating impact mean?
When we say we want to create impact, we are setting a goal to have a major effect on something or someone. But how do you actually do that? You can say you want to create impact all you want, but you have to understand how to do that. Note that we haven’t said anything about where the impact is being created or what the effect is. That’s for you to decide.
Creating Impact is Too Broad
Everyone creates impact, even if they don't realize it. While you’re reading this right now, you are creating impact on the lives of those around you. Your brand and your actions impact your family, your friends, your co-workers and your industry on a daily basis.
When you want to create impact, you have to think about these questions. What effect or change do you want to inspire? How exactly do you want to make that change? The “How” is the tough part, and that’s the part that starts to look different to each person.
Think about that goal you want to accomplish and put it into the perspective of those around you. What does reaching your goal of creating impact do for your family, friends, co-workers, etc? Does it affect your company, your industry or your community?
As athletes, you make even more of an impact in your community on a regular basis. Think of the young people who look up to you - how do you want them to see you? Impact doesn’t always mean working on philanthropy projects - it can mean promoting healthy eating or learning new things. There are no rules for what impact has to look like.
Stay True to Yourself
This idea may seem too simple, but it’s incredible how much more effective change is when it’s authentic. If you are passionate about the change you want to make, and wake up every day with the excitement to work towards it, you will be successful in creating impact. It’s important to understand yourself, your interests and your strengths. These are your keys to success and your unique identifiers.
Authenticity and self-discovery is the place to start your impact journey. Take time to think about the things that matter most to you. What changes do you want to see and how can you personally make a difference? How do your strengths and interests play into this change? This can take some time to brainstorm, but it makes all the difference when it’s time to act.
Go Beyond Social Media
Social media can be a great place to start a dialogue about the impact you want to create. Once you know the effect you want to have and how you plan to create that change, you can share it with the world so they can come on the journey with you. But be careful about falling into the trap of using social media as your only action.
Make sure social media is a part of your impact journey, not the entire journey. Use your platform to highlight the actions you are taking offline. Are you advocating your local government? Volunteering or supporting a nonprofit that means a lot to you? Creating opportunities to highlight voices of important perspectives we are missing? Use social media to showcase your work, but make sure you are actually doing that work behind the scenes.
Don’t Recreate the Wheel - Collaborate
We’ve talked about how much further we can go by working together, but this is especially important when creating impact. If you find like minded people and organizations working towards the changes you want to make, reach out to them and see how you can work together. There is only so much you can do alone. Be creative, form partnerships and strategize about how you can contribute. Many times we feel like we have to be the ones making the big changes ourselves, but supporting someone else or an organization already making progress can create even more sustainable impact.
Once we are clear about what the impact is we want to create and how we want to create it, we can start to really work towards that goal. Understanding ourselves, our strengths, weaknesses and interests makes us much more effective in creating the change we wish to see. So as the year comes to a close, reflect on the impact you’ve made this year. What do you want to improve upon? Do you need to shift or pivot? No matter what impact you want to make, through authenticity, a strong strategy and collaboration, you can achieve it.
To learn more about creating impact, join our workshop on November 13th, 2020 on Athlete Activism. Hear from former and current athletes, nonprofit execs and public policy experts about going beyond social media and creating real lasting change. Register for free today! https://www.tacklewhatsnext.com/Athlete-Activism-Workshop