I am brought back to a scene from Pocahontas where Grandmother Willow is showing John Smith the “Ripples.” She says, “Look at them, so small at first, but look at how they grow.” She goes on to say, “But someone has to start them.” When John Smith tells her that no one will listen she says, “Young man, sometimes the right path isn’t always the easiest.”
What happens after that moment shows us what can happen by creating that ripple (making an impact, however small) and we all know how epic the ending to that movie was. (If you don’t, I insist you go and watch it now. It may not be historically accurate but it teaches some great values).
In any line of work everything we say and do has an impact on an innumerable amount of people throughout our day. The important part is remembering to create the right impact. The good impact. The business building impact. If you are having a bad day, business is unusually stressful, and you just want to rip your hair out it is important to remember that this can easily translate to your callers, customers, and co-workers without your permission.
Did you mean to rip Mrs. Johnson’s head off for being the hundredth caller on the Healthcare Hotline in the last 5 minutes? Probably not. Will you remember her or ever having done it? Probably not. Will she? The answer is yes. She will remember and she will tell everyone she gets a chance to tell. Her response to how you have treated her in turn impacts the business you represent which in turn impacts future business.
Did you mean to tell Mr. Eagles in the most sarcastic tone you could muster “We have no control of your bank account, funds, or whether or not you have enough money to cover your bill with us?” No probably not. But he will remember and he will tell as many people as he gets a chance to tell.
Understanding your impact begins with accepting how your attitude, work ethic, and productivity affects others whether you intended for that affect or not. Then taking this information and figuring out how it can affect your business or the business you represent. Just like the “Ripples” that start in a river can impact the waves of the ocean. Your “Ripples” can change the way complete strangers who have never interacted with you, your business, or the businesses you represent view your company. Whether for the good or for the bad of it.
Ask yourself this question; “How many times do I find myself hearing a company name, one I’ve never been too or interacted with, and automatically begin talking about how terrible the place is and how I would never do business there?” Or vice versa, how great the place is and you hope to do business with them soon. Then you think back and ask yourself why you even said that. You have no personal experience with that company and yet you automatically have an firm opinion of it. Why?