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Mindset Mondays with DTK – Ep #191 — Know Your Impact Wake

Imagine for a moment a motor boat out in the water. The faster that boat goes, the larger its wake, the wave the boat produces as it moves. Out in open water, that’s likely not a problem. In a harbor tightly packed with other boats, that wake can be destructive.

Over the last few weeks I have witnessed a number of experiences that have brought one specific (and critical) lesson into stark reveal. I am amazed at how may problems, disconnects, clashes, and upheavals stem from one person’s blindness to their impact wake.

While textbook examples of mansplaining and cultural privilege gaffes have caused upset for others in their wake, the people speeding through this harbor have remained blissfully oblivious.

Don’t get me wrong … those situations are part of the journeys of those involved. They are neither mine to air nor mine to resolve. The ones that have impacted me or where I have been the one casting the damaging wake, those messes I have worked to clean up.

And all of this reminds me of a line from F Scott Fitzgerald that draws positive attention to the concept of one’s impact wake…

“It was only a sunny smile,
and little it cost in the giving,
but like morning light
it scattered the night
and made the day worth living.”

— F Scott Fitzgerald

Though plowing blithely or obliviously through a space clueless about one’s impact takes little energy in the doing, massive energy is often expended in dealing with the negative consequences or cleaning up the messes made.

That’s the biggest piece for me … There is an inherent energy exchange in one’s impact wake. And I notice that Fitzgerald’s rhyme points to how easily it can be made positive. And that speaks to me at my core.

YES, between the positive and the negative, I tend to skew consciously towards the former.
YES, between the heartfelt and the surface, I, again, tend to skew towards the former.

I am actively CHOOSING awareness of my impact wake. I am actively CHOOSING that my wake will serve rather than damage. I am actively CHOOSING to have a positive impact wake … as a husband, as a father, as a son, as a friend, as a coach, as an author, as a speaker, and in all of the other roles that I hold.

And I know that I will inevitably make a mistake, that I will inadvertently create a negative impact (hopefully rarely!) as I speed through my world. In that event, I hope to learn from those mistakes and clean them up with grace.

What is YOUR impact wake?


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