Have you ever attended a retirement dinner?
Have you ever attended a gathering honoring someone?
Have you ever attended a funeral?
Whether it was a retirement celebration, a dinner honoring a person, or even a funeral, those events had speeches given by people who were grateful for the influence of the individual.
With retirement celebrations, the retiree gets to hear their accolades and the influence that they had on those around them. When you are at a dinner honoring someone, they get to hear from people who they had a lasting impact on in various areas of life. With the deceased, there is hope we can realize the stories of gratitude despite the separation of death.
When you look back on someone’s life you can see all the things they have done and then the influence they have had on many lives.
If you were to look back on your life, who would you say you have influenced?
Have you ever been told about the impact you had on someone else? Have you kept a record of the times you’ve volunteered, or actively tried to make a change – even in a small way?
I would imagine you have had a larger influence than you realize. Take a moment and ask yourself a few questions to see what type of impact you might have made:
- Do people refer to you as an excellent example of individual traits and values?
- Has a group has ever honored you for your contributions?
- Have you been featured in a newspaper or magazine?
- Have you ever made employee of the month?
- Have you ever been interviewed about your work or your ministry?
- Have you volunteered for your church?
- Who have you shared your knowledge of a skill or trade to help them improve?
- Who have you mentored?
- Have you ever received a personalized “thank you” for something you did for someone?
- Have you written a blog post, book, or other work that someone told you “changed their life”?
- Have you donated your time or resources to an organization or a cause?
After you answer these questions, I would imagine you can think of times you’ve made a difference.
I would encourage you to make a list of the times you can recall and reflect on how it felt to be an influence. Consider those people you’ve affected and how they have benefited from your influence. These might be people that you never considered the influence you had on them, but you did. Even if you initially had no intention of making a difference, the chances are that you did, and it should encourage you.
Before we close, understand this point: you don’t have to wait until you retire, or honored by others, or die to know you’ve affected people around you. Realize your influence now.
Each of us has influence over others. We have even influenced those we may not realize. Consider how you have influenced others and decide to continue to be a positive influence in the future.
Just some thoughts,