Excerpted from The Impact Directive: How to Use Your Communication to Honor Yourself and Others and Why it Matters that You Do by Connie Benoit Sirois (launching June 11, 2019 – available for pre-order in May)
Every encounter matters. And I do mean every encounter, even the fleeting ones, even the internal ones.
Offer to Fertilize
You and I really can’t help but to be impacted and have an impact. You can’t shirk from this responsibility. You can’t opt out. God has already clicked the “opt in” button and entered your name and email address.
How we communicate in the everyday moments of our lives will determine what impact we will have on others. We fertilize the soil within ourselves and others by the way we choose to interact.
Events that cause great impact are awesome, but I’ve found that all the in-between everyday moments are even more powerful in shaping both who we are and how we impact others. Each of us will have impact. Therefore, we are responsible for whether that impact will be positive or negative, and we will answer for “every empty word [we] have spoken” (Matthew 12:36 NIV). God has given us the powerful gift of our communication and the will to use it as we wish: positive or negative, good or evil.
What fascinates me so much about communication, even the everyday stuff, is that it has such rich complexity to it. Our communication is so much more than a linear exchange of information. We have to adapt to each situation and the people in them and give each what is needed. Jesus gave the laypeople parables and explained more to the disciples. He knew what each group could handle. He was harsh with the Pharisees and made references to the law and prophesies because they were knowledgeable in those. And just as they did with Jesus, people will not always respond appropriately to our communication. No matter. Keep doing it the positive way. The Israelites were great examples of people who didn’t respond appropriately. They didn’t listen and acted out when they didn’t hear what they wanted. God kept offering grace.
The thing about the everyday, in-between moments is that they are really anything but ordinary.
We need to give communication much more credit. When we give our time and attention (because those are really the most valuable gifts that we have to give) to the person and the situation at hand, we create an impactful moment. Think about how much you can positively impact another by simply listening intently and being present in the moment. Have you ever done that for someone? Has someone ever done that for you? It’s powerful, and you don’t even have to say a word. Our communication abilities transcend our capacity for speech.
Realizing the vastness of communication should give us pause. We have so many opportunities to create positive impact, and creating positive impact doesn’t have to be predicated on our having a positive day. We can give the best in each moment, even when we aren’t having the best moment ourselves. We can give others our best, even when we aren’t our best. What I’ve found for myself is that acting in positive ways creates positive emotions within me. We can turn a bad feeling around by making ourselves feel good, and before we know it, we are really feeling better. We feel better about ourselves when we are being genuinely kind to our fellow humans.
Looking for spaces to create positive impact just might leave an impact legacy, but our impact can be just as important when no one even remembers us or what we have done. In the everyday, in-between moments, we have an opportunity to really make our mark on others. The repeated actions that are meant to have a positive impact accumulate and result in people feeling better without even marking how the turnaround happened.
One after another, the in-between moments come together in our brains to form big moments that change us and the world around us. We make ordinary moments very unordinary.
Connie Benoit Sirois
Consultant | Writer | Speaker