Recently I was in Melbourne for a get together with my tribe from Thought Leaders Business School. Over the course of the three days, I was approached on two separate occasions by two different people. Here’s the gist of those conversations:

  1. “Hey! Are you the Digby Scott who used to work at Arthur Andersen in Perth, and was an instructor on a graduate training course in Canberra in 1992?”
  2. “Hey Digby, you probably don’t remember me, but I remember you from those leadership workshops you ran for our organisation back in 2000.”

I did remember the second person, but not the first. In both cases, I remembered being there, but not the details of the who or the what. What was cool was that both people mentioned the impact that my work had had on them, and that it lingered to this day.

You cannot not impact.

You can’t argue with that, right? I first heard that saying when I attended training in Neurolinguistic Programming (NLP) years ago, and it’s stuck with me ever since.

Whenever you show up, you have an impact. Whether you consciously intend to or not. Even your silence, or your absence, has an impact. The mere fact that you exist causes ripples. Those ripples land somewhere. And they have some sort of impact.

Drew Dudley gave a short and brilliant TED talk about this when he spoke about Everyday Leadership. His idea was that our words and actions can have a profound and lasting impact, and often we don’t even realise it. They have a ripple effect. The thing is, we don’t know where or how the ripples will land. We can forget what we did or said until someone tells us about the powerful effect we had on them.

So, it’s good to be mindful of what we’re saying and doing at all times.

In one of my recent Change Makers workshops, our guest conversationalist paraphrased leadership change-maker Tim Elmore when she said “You’re likely going to impact around 10,000 people in your life: that’s a given. The question is: “how do you want to impact?””

Good question.

You have more impact than you might think. So what impact do you want to have?


Photo: Digby Scott


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