Powerful Questions Podcast: What is your impact on others?
I have recently done a team coaching, and what I observed in that team is what I often notice: we rarely realize what impact we have on others, either in certain situations or in life in general. I myself have been recently caught off-guard by the feedback I received on how my communication style in one particular meeting has impacted others in that meeting.
I am sure you have noticed yourself how others may impact you. If you have a friend who is really positive and energetic, you like to spend time with them just to get more of this positive vibe. After meeting them, you have better mood and feel happier. Or if you have colleagues at work who complain all the time, you also start complaining and it’s very hard to stop. I notice sometimes that I feel like I am someone else: the behaviors of other people or the group dynamics I am in are so contagious, that I cannot help but follow them.
This is quite normal - people are social animals, it is important for us to fit in. That is why we are so sensitive to the moods and behavior of others around us.
What this also means is that other people are influenced by us. Think about it: you have real power in your day-to-day life to make the lives of those around you better or worse. To make them feel more positive or more negative. To make them happier or less happy. And even not by intention or any actions directed towards others, but just by being as you are. That’s a real superpower! How are you using yours?
Are you aware of the influence you have on others? Do you spread positivity and good mood around you? Do you make others nervous or not at ease? Maybe you have different impact on different groups of people – your family, colleagues, friends, strangers.
You might already have some idea on what your influence is. Maybe based on reactions that you observe, or on subtle feedback that you have gotten from others. But most probably you do have some blind spots that you will discover if you just ask for direct feedback. Ask several people that you often interact with – and definitely ask someone you are not so friendly with. You might get most interesting insights from them!
What you can ask them:
How do you feel after we have had a conversation? Say the first 3 words that come to mind.
Do you notice when I am in a good mood? How does it influence you?
Do you notice when I am in a bad mood? How does it influence you?
How do you feel if you know we are going to spend a lot of time together?
Did you observe how other people feel around me?
Have a couple of conversations such as these. Note the answers and afterwards try to see whether there is a bigger picture behind all the answers. This will give you a good idea on what your impact is on others.
Another question is what this means to you. Should you even care how you are influencing others? Well, to answer this question is only up to you. Only you can decide whether it is your intention in life to have any specific impact on others. Do you want to be an inspiration? Do you want to bring a note of irony and humor to life? Do you want to energize others? Do you want to be a calming presence? Do you want to sometimes make people uncomfortable so that they can grow?
It is up to you to decide.
The only thing you need to remember is that you have influence over others regardless of whether you are aware of it or not. And you can either decide to be conscious and intentional about it, or you can let it go completely. However, how you impact others will also have some influence on your life. How others feel around you will determine how they act towards you and how they treat you.
Next time you go to bed, take time to reflect: What impact did you have on people around you today?