Living your Maximum Life is about motivation, maximum performance and a balanced lifestyle, but more importantly, there is a recognition that every person is unique, and a pioneer of their own life path.

My aim is to help readers define their Life Footprint and start living a Purpose Driven life. This means taking hold of the steering wheel and Living Deliberately. One warning though - Reading these essays could be life changing!

Saturday, 13 August 2011

Making an Impact

The last blog dealt with balancing all your roles in such a way that you are always working at achieving more than one goal. In this way, whatever you’re doing, you are making progress on several fronts at once by using synergy between roles, and integrating them into activities that have multiple facets rather than focusing on only role one at a time. This will ensure that your life footprint (or the sum impact of your life activities) extends over all the roles you consider a priority. Of course, every person will still have higher and lower priorities according to their own life views, and thus focus more on some aspects than others. We not only have different interests, but also have idiosyncratic abilities based on genetic propensity, cultural and personal exposure and physical build, abilities and limitations. This ensures that each of us has a very unique life footprint.

If you’ve ever been told that you are taking over from a very capable or influential person, you were probably told that “those are big shoes to fill”. This fits perfectly with my idea of a life footprint. The sum effect of your activities have a certain overall impact. Depending on your influence, the footprint will either be rather small or relatively big. What is important though is that, if you focus on making an impact within your footprint (the area you really can influence), your footprint will increase. If you focus outside your footprint (you may be interested in a lot of things you are unable to influence), your influence will decrease. Think of Mother Theresa, Oprah, Justin Bieber for that matter – they all focused on the area they could influence and making an impact there, and ended up being extrmemely influential well beyond those initial borders.

This brings me quite neatly to one of the maxims I try to live by – Do what you can where you are with what you have. So many people sit and complain about circumstances they can do nothing about to people who can do nothing about it either. When they take the time to think about it, they could probably address the problem to someone with influence enough to do something about it, but they decrease their influence by the wrong focus. Let’s take new legislation that will introduce exorbitant tolls – most people will complain to each other, but do nothing further. If enough people wrote a letter to the government department concerned, they might get the legislation overturned.

The world does not demand that you try and change anything beyond the boundaries of your present abilities or influence, and will punish you for trying. Just try giving a million dollars to a worthy cause (if you do not have it to give) and see how quickly you get arrested for fraud. Nothing stops you from getting involved in some other way and making a real difference, getting acknowledged for it and eventually becoming a champion of the cause with influence well beyond the million dollar gift. There is always something you can do. Most people will just wish they could do something, but as my grandmother used to say; “wish in the one hand and spit in the other, then see which weighs more.”

So, here’s what you need to do; identify the major roles you fulfill, the broad areas of your life on which you want to make an impact. Your list should more or less correspond to the following: Professional, Financial/Material, Intellectual and Communication, Family and Sex, Social Interaction, Spiritual, Physical and Health, Maintenance and Recreation. Now decide how important each role is and what weight you want to attach to each. Then decide what you aim to achieve in each by defining a goal for each and writing it down.

Now examine the synergies between each and see how you can combine activities to contribute to several goals at the same time. Next, construct a roadmap of steps you need to take in order of succession to get to the goals you aspire to. Lastly sort interdependent sections so that you achieve goals in a logical order – if you need a certain qualification to apply for the position you desire, it would be logical to time that application for after you have been certificated – and calculate the time to completion. All that remains at this point is to put the plan into action. Beware of falling into the trap of perpetual analysis, where you study about studying and plan your plan to the extent where you never actually do anything.

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