The (hidden) impact

Last night I picked both daughters up from a Roller Disco birthday party and had an unexpected conversation. 2 of the mums came up to me and thanked me for writing the blog. One even shared that they had changed their professional practice because of some of what I had written on the subject of setting clear boundaries.  Honestly, I was surprised and incredibly flattered.

I can obviously see that people are reading the blog because of the analytics that wordpress offer. However, there is a real difference between seeing a blue bar with a number attached to it and having people come to me and say that not only have they read but it has had a direct impact on their work. It’s not the first time either.

I’ve had a few people make comment recently about how the blog has shaped how they work or challenged them to consider approaching situations or professional practice differently.

It made me realise how you never know the impact of the ripples you make and the effect that will have on other people. I have to admit that one of the reasons I have been quiet on the blog (apart from daily blogging being hard work) is that I am not sure it is wanted by the world. I feel a tension between this being an open diary for myself to have a place to collect my thoughts and the feeling that I am shouting in the wind of billions of words being put out onto the internet daily. Just look at what is put out every minute:

It’s insane to think that my words are competing with this. Yet they are and have equal value (given a metric where everything is given merit in and of itself).

We never know do we, what are words will do or the impact they will have?

When I work with young people I can often only have them for a term, sometimes only 6 weeks. On the very odd occasion I have worked with someone for a year and in a couple of cases 2 years. So for the majority of times I have them for very little time indeed or in the grand scheme of things a blink of their life time.

Professionally there are many people that will only have contact with someone for but a brief moment in time. Its really easy to look upon that contact and dismiss the potential impact that may have. It could be with young people or adults. Even down to running a training event for a couple of hours. What could we possibly say or do int hat time that would have impact?

The thing is, we may never know the impact we have on people. Yet don’t give up. Never underestimate the positive influence that you are having. One bit of new knowledge gained can have repercussions way beyond anything you can envisage.

It’s rare that you hear from clients you have seen. But I have a few times. In my case it has been the parents that have written or spoken to me years after my work with their child had finished. One in particular had gone on to university and had thrived. The parent had put this down in great part to the work I had done years previously. Yet the input that I had given had not been about going to Uni, yet they had taken their learning, applied it to their new situation and had done amazing things.

So two things I would like you to think about doing:

  1. Never give up doing what you do, just because you don’t see the results. You may never see the results but if you are investing in the lives of people, something is happening that is good. Don’t stop!
  2. If someone has invested in you, if you have been changed but the words of someone, let them know. Let that person know that you are better because of what they have done. I was reminded of this last night and I am really thankful for that.

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