A medium-sized word with a very big meaning—and a tad too heavy for me. I prefer “trail of impact.”
Like a ship at sea, we all leave an impact in our wake as we interact with colleagues, friends, neighbors, customers, vendors, and family. The key question is this:
Am I leaving a positive or negative trail of impact?
Dr. Verne Rockcastle (obituary) recently died at age 95. I bet he hadn’t thought of me in four decades. But I had often thought of him.
Dr. Rockcastle was a science professor at Cornell University. My dad, Jimmy Miller, was Cornell’s wrestling coach. Back in the day, they knew each other. My father also knew Dr. Rockcastle had a fondness for reptiles.
My kind of guy.
I was and still am a reptile fan. In fact, thanks to my dad, I got my first boa constrictor when I was in the third grade. I mean, really, what else do you give a 10-year-old boy??? 🙂
That’s me holding “Gloria” up to the camera lens when featured in the Ithaca Journal in 1968.
That same year, Dr. Rockcastle told my dad to “bring Johnny into my classroom sometime.” So my dad did.
It’s been 47 years, but here’s what I remember:
Dr. Rockcastle asked me to show Gloria to his students. So there I was, a 10-year-old in front of 20-year-olds, clearly being “groovy” as I showed them my favorite snake.
And answering questions.
And feeling awfully special.
That’s a powerfully positive memory of mine and Dr. Rockcastle created it by showing interest in a young boy and his interest.
That memory is very much part of the good professor’s trail of impact left upon my life.
Dr. Rockcastle is gone now, but the affect he had on me will remain till I am 95. (Positive thinking!)
His passing caused me to ask 5 critical questions:
“How am I creating positive memories for others?”
“Is my ‘trail of impact’ a good one?”
“How can I contribute to our world?”
“What can I do today to serve people?”
“In what way am I giving more than I am taking?”
You see, a positive trail of impact doesn’t just happen—it is created—but only when I take personal accountability for doing so. The five questions above help me get there.
Can you use them, too?
Which of our 5 questions will you ask today?
Who has left a positive “trail of impact” in your life?