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#Making an Impact

Look around you and you’ll see three kinds of people. You'll see those who complain about everything. The "middle layer" folks who are the "Eeyore's," and don't hate it but don't love it and just manage to mutter through it. Then there are those who LOVE life, are grateful for what they have, whether things are going well or they’re experiencing set backs. The ones who wake up and full of life stand out because they are, most often, the people who change the world for the better.

In my work as a nurse, success coach and writer, I've had the opportunity to connect with people who’ve made a true and measurable impact in the world, including well-known leaders, authors, researchers, journalists, physicians, innovators, and entrepreneurs. But among this group of world influencers there are also everyday people who have found a special niche in which they’ve contributed at the highest level.

It’s critical to note that people who’ve made a real difference aren’t all privileged, advantaged or “special” by any stretch. Many come from disadvantaged families, crushing circumstances and initially limited capabilities, but have found ways to pick themselves up and rise above their circumstances, to transform their own lives and those around them.

These makers, shakers and disruptors are truly the ones who shape the world around them in powerful and constructive ways. In all my experience observing them, I've noticed 8 core behaviors that set them apart. These 8 ways of behaving and approaching life and work completely distinguish them from those who long to make a difference but can’t or won’t find the way.

Thousands of people today don’t believe in meaning and purpose as something to discover or pursue in life. And others believe in a life purpose but won't take the risk to identify or honor it. Those with positive influence feel otherwise. They have found that there is a purpose to their life and it becomes their "mission." That purpose usually involves some aspect of turning their “mess into a message,” or using what they’ve learned (often the hard way) as a means of being of service to others. People with a sense of purpose are driven, focused, committed, and lit up from the inside - unable to be deterred or distracted from what they believe, wholeheartedly, it is their “purpose” in life. This sense of meaning and purpose gives them inexhaustible drive and offers guideposts to follow along the path. It informs them of what they wish to attend to in life, and what they need to walk away from because it doesn’t support their values and/or higher purpose.

They commit to continually bettering themselves.

People who impact the world for the better know that they are not perfect. They understand how their knowledge isn’t “complete” – there are always gaps, biases, limitations and prejudices, and new places to go with their expertise.

Yes, there are powerful narcissists aplenty, but their influence isn’t positive or helpful in the long run – it’s damaging and destructive. Innovators who positively shape the world come from a “beginner’s mind” and a loving, compassionate heart – with an openness to see, learn, and experience new things throughout their journey.

They engage with people in open, mutually-beneficial ways.

Those with huge positive influence understand the power of relationships, connection, and engaging with the world openly. They’re not afraid to get “out there” and connect with others, sharing their knowledge and talents, offering their authentic viewpoints and opinions. They have learned how to relate well with others and build mutually-supportive relationships that catapult both parties to a higher level. They know that positive, supportive and authentic relationships are the foundational building blocks to anything and everything they want to achieve.

Challenge Accepted type of Mindset

The people I’ve interacted with and interviewed who’ve made a positive impact in the world don’t settle for submission. When they see something that agitates and disturbs them, they strive to know more, get to the root of the issue, research and understand the contributing factors, and arrive at new solutions. They observe gaps and mistakes in common thinking and behavior, and trust themselves in their belief that it’s time to push the boundaries of what’s accepted. They want to affect change because they believe change will bring a better way to live.

Constructive Criticism…please bring it!

The most powerful positive influencers don’t need or want to be “right” – they want to grow and be more effective. For that to occur, they walk right into critique, and they embrace challenge. They’re not afraid to put their work out there for others to poke holes in. They are strong and confident in the face of opposition, yet know how to integrate constructive feedback to strengthen their work and ideas. They engage in open dialogue and welcome scrutiny.

Spread the in Knowledge not Money.

We’ve all met authors or “experts” who keep their knowledge secret. They’re afraid to let it out for fear someone will benefit from it or make money on their ideas. This is the opposite of the positive influencer’s mindset. Those who make a true positive difference can’t help but share and teach what they’ve learned. They don’t see their knowledge as just some commodity to sell, they see it as information that has to be shared with the world for its betterment. They believe their ideas and innovations are of use and value to others, and can’t help but share those openly, and teach others what they’ve learned. They live the motto, “the more you give, the more you get.”

They uplift others as they ascend.

You’ve experienced, as I have, scores of “leaders” and high-achievers who’ve gotten where they are by stepping on the heads and backs of those in the way. These are not true leaders or influencers because their power is a sham. It was obtained unethically and is shallow and weak and can’t be sustained over time. I have encountered power-mongers who were crushing and cruel to their subordinates and I wondered when they would finally reap what they’ve sown. Over the long term, this day always comes.

On the other hand, people who positively impact the world not only obtain amazing results in their work, but their process of obtaining these results – how they operate in life -- is also inspiring and up-lifting. They are happy to help and support others, and have an overflow of positive energy that enriches the lives of everyone they work with and connect with. These positive influencers want others to grow. They walk away from “success-building” opportunities that will be hurtful and damaging to others. They know that those unethical, demeaning or destructive approaches go against the very meaning and purpose they’re committed to.

They view the journey as the goal.

Positive influencers don’t take short cuts or go for the quick buck or easy answer. They don’t view some arbitrary goal or outcome as a destination, because they believe there is no end – it’s all in the journey. It’s about what they’re learning, experiencing, and building that helps others, and for that, there is no defined end point. They embrace failure more than others and turn their “failures or mistakes,” into learning lessons that not only will help them but also others. Their ultimate goal is not about upholding their title, income, stature or power, but about sharing the knowledge they have learned throughout life as well as the resources out there, to help others.

Are you longing to make a positive impact in the world? If so, do these behaviors match your own? How are they different?

To build a more rewarding, successful life and/or career…email @ or visit It's never too late to start and you too can make a positive impact, one life at a time.


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