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How Much Impact Can I Really Make in My Small, Simple Life?

A few weeks ago, I wrote an article about our Bangladesh team & the extraordinary work they are doing. It's impressive and exceptional, and most of us think: that is waaay beyond me. 

But, maybe our scope is just a bit too myopic!

It has been said (by a few, though often attributed to Bill Gates) that we overestimate what we can do in a year, but underestimate what we can do in a decade. I would go even further to say that we probably WAY underestimate the impact we can have in 50 years, over a lifetime.


The reality is that in most cases, something extraordinary has come as a result of a whole lot of ordinary. 


Sometimes friends of mine, or new people I meet, will express how impressed they are by dignify. I am super proud, of course, and (as my sappiness over the past fall indicated) in awe at where we've come over our 5 years in business.

But, as much as anything, I feel embarrassed when someone tells me how "impressive" it all is.

Umm... — I think — don't they know how thoroughly unimpressive my days look?  Working on a spreadsheet is not impressive! Photographing blankets for hours in front of a white sheet suspended in my dining room = not impressive! Spending the better part of my days over a week signing up for & trying out different email apps to see which one has the toggles I like best? Then, spending an entire day figuring out "custom fields" and importing data? IT IS ALMOST TOO BORING TO TYPE THAT, much less is it impressive! Snooze!


The reality is that as remarkable as anyone's accomplishments seem to be — and somehow, especially when there is "impact" or a "good" that results from their work — it is still comprised of one foot in front of the other, one day at a time, one spreadsheet built on the next. 



There is a phrase that I've seen quite a bit in the entrepreneurial world:

"Show Up Every Day."

I think that the idea is supposed to impart the same kind of message as I wrote above: that it is the consistency that makes the difference, not the big, wow moments.

But, for me, this phrase can come off as more discouraging and oppressive than affirming. Every day!? Instead, for the rest of us (beyond the entrepreneurial go-getters), I suggest a slight alteration. Maybe more like,

When you show up, what you do matters.

All those bits & pieces can add up over the years and over the decades. They may not feel particularly impressive, but when you look back, it could be quite extraordinary!

 

(Not convinced? Just watch the blue marble!)

 

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