You May Never Know the Impact You Have

A recent post – Remember to do something for others – at Acquire Wisdom and Live with Passion got me thinking. Sometimes it seems that we need to do something great to have an impact on the world. What little I can do seems so … little.

Yet, sometimes the smallest thing can make a huge difference. A few days ago I met with a friend who had a stroke more than a year ago. Since neither of us is able to get out much, it was the first time I’d seen her in person since her stroke. At one point in our conversation, tears ran down her face as she said, “You’ll never know how much it meant to me to be able to talk to you when I was in the hospital and rehab. No one else understood what I was going through.” All I did was chat on the phone and acknowledge I’d had similar experiences and feelings when I was in therapy. Such a little thing … but so important for my friend.

And sometimes, we can influence someone we don’t even know. When I was in the interior landscape business, I visited the offices of a new client, an insurance agency that occupied an entire floor of a class A office building. I had negotiated the contract with the purchasing agent and had never met the president of the company. When I came to the president’s office, I introduced myself and told her I was there to check on their plants. She said, “You don’t it, but you have been a big inspiration to me.” What? I’d never met the woman before, hadn’t even known her name before I entered her office. She went on to say that she had been a stay-at-home mother of a disabled child until her husband died several years earlier. She put her adult son in a residence for persons with disabilities and took over the company her husband had spent his lifetime building. She happened to attend a Chamber of Commerce seminar where I talked about starting and building a business in a time when I was often the only female and one of the youngest people at business events. I frequently spoke at business functions, and I didn’t even recall the specific occasion she mentioned and certainly didn’t remember seeing her in the audience. That program, this successful insurance woman told me, inspired her, and when she was discouraged and frustrated with business challenges, she would think to herself, “If she could do it, I can do it.”

A simple word of encouragement to a friend or a stranger can impact their lives in ways we never know.

Related Posts: Catalyst: God’s Tool

[tags]giving, helping, encouragement, making a difference[/tags]

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