You won’t create the impact you seek without automating how you do it.
Automating your systems for creating impact cuts through the massive number of daily tasks you have, which allows you to avoid feeling like you always come up short on how you are impacting the world around you. Doing it well is important because not doing it consistently feels incredibly negative to yourself.
This process is about improving your mental health AND creating the impact around you.
How do we define the term “Impacting the World Around Us”? For us, it is any action that creates a positive ripple in the people or the environment affected by it. Calling your sister just because is impact. Picking up the piece of trash blowing across the park is impact. Founding a nonprofit to tackle hunger in your community is impact. Taking the time to sign up as a mentor to students at your alma mater is impact.
The list of what we want to impact never ends, and we can often find ourselves in the prison of “should.” I should call my mom. I should volunteer for that nonprofit board. I should take the time to help at the food bank. The best way to tackle this is by creating a plan and system to allow you to say enough: If I can do these very meaningful things, it will be enough, I will have created the impact that is important to me.
To build this plan, take out a blank sheet of paper and draw three large circles. In each circle, write the following categories: People – Organizations – Causes
In the People circle, list up to ten of your closest family members and friends that you want to see often and go through life together.
In the Organizations circle, list up to three organizations by name that you want to help or work with. These can be educational, nonprofit, governmental, and for-profit. You can also include your own company or business that you want to start.
In the Causes circle, list up to three issues that matter most to you. Homeless housing, coding training, adult softball. Again, there are no constraints.
Under each person, write a single sentence that starts with;
“I want to (see/call/write) to (name) every (day/week/month/quarter) because _______.”
Under each organization, write a single sentence that starts with;
“I want to (volunteer/donate/participate) with (name) at least (time/money/capacity) because ________.”
Under each cause, write a single sentence that starts with;
“I want to (work on/advocate for/donate to) (cause name) with at least (time/money/capacity) because________.”
Now that you have your list, you have the exact way you want to impact them. Next, look at a 90-day calendar and begin mapping it out. If there are people you want to be in touch with weekly, create a recurring reminder on your calendar “Every Tuesday, Call Dad” or “On the 15th of each month, ask cousin Carl to lunch”. For the organizations and causes, decide what the first steps are to engage with them, put it on your calendar, and set up a follow-up no more than 90 days out. Once you have completed this exercise, you will be able to see how much time it will actually take and can either move forward or trim it back accordingly.
Use this as a statement of intent for how you specifically want to impact the people, organizations, and causes around you.
The last piece of this is to set a 90-day recurring reminder with yourself to look back at your statement of intent and make sure it is still true to what matters most to you. If it does not, start the process again and refine it down. We are continually changing, and so can our priority list.
By being clear about what we aspire to impact and building a system to remind ourselves to actually do it, we can create a massive impact on the world around us.