“Our rewards will always be in exact proportion to our service.” – Earl Nightingale
We all have influence. We have a platform on which to create change in this world. And most people in our world (myself included more often than I’d care to admit) will spend much of their finite energy comparing their platforms to others.
Unfortunately, they’ll waste their time comparing all the wrong metrics.They’ll compare…
- income and savings account balances.
- home prices and car models.
- job titles and salary packages.
- Facebook friends, Twitter followers and blog subscribers.
They will compare the size of platform, but often disregard for what influence the platform is being used. As a result, many of the wrong people will be held in esteem. And many of the people who are getting it right – using their platforms for positive change – will go unnoticed, be overlooked, or worse yet, quickly forgotten.
We need to change our metrics. We need to stop comparing size and start comparing direction of influence. We ought to spend less time praising those who build large platforms for selfish gain. And spend more energy lifting up those who use their platform for the betterment of somebody else – regardless of size.
We ought to publicly praise those who use their platform to contribute good into our world. People like…
1. Scott Harrison, who gave up a highly lucrative career to deliver clean water around the world and redefine charity in the process.
2. Stephanie Zito, who is giving away $10 every day this year to a different charity.
3. Jeff Slobotski, who has given his life to encouraging and connecting young start-ups in Omaha, NE.
4. Brene Brown, who has dedicated her life to studying vulnerability and equipping others to live authentic, vulnerable lives.
5. Josh Furnas, who recently moved to San Francisco to help nonprofits raise funds in a practical, fashionable way.
6. Sarah Peck, who is giving away her 29th birthday to charity.
7. Chris Guillebeau, who once gave everyone in the room $100 to invest in themselves and something great… $100,000 total.
8. Kimberly Becker, who put aside her career aspirations to raise two children at home for the past 9+ years.
Based on the typical metrics of our society, each person listed above varies in their level of success. But on the metrics of appreciating positive contribution, each has used their influence to benefit others. And our world would be a better place if they were publicly praised because of it.
Will you consider adding to this list and publicly drawing attention to someone in your life who ought to be celebrated because of their positive contribution to others? You can do so in the comment section below. Links will be approved.
Thanks ffor sharing your thoughts on influence. Regards
Jeff Slobotski says
Another great piece Joshua. The ideas shared are so clearly articulated, and a great reminder to me as we continue building.
Thank you for thinking of me, but I still have a long way to go to catch up to the impact that the other 8 folks, and countless are working on.
Keep moving forward…
Mamie Leger says
Jenny Lawson of TheBloggess for inspiring the red dress movement that empowers women of all shapes and sizes to embrace their beauty http://thebloggess.com/2010/05/the-traveling-red-dress/ and bringing awareness to depression in her quirky funny way.
Wow! this is really a beautiful article you have written! I absolutely agree with you that we tend to place our focus on the wrong metrics to measure our success…many times, we define our success based on our ego and materialistic wants (not needs)…It’s hard to understand that these will fade away or means nothing as we part this world…What matters most is- Have we change somebody life (in a positive way)? Have we left a legacy?
David Delp says
Joshua, you are definitely on my list. Meeting you was one of the highlights of my World Domination Summit last weekend. I’d like to add Cal Newport to the list who is doing the hard work of discovering what works in crafting a remarkable life, and inspiring us all by what he finds. http://calnewport.com/
Excellent call on Brene Brown – I just watched her TED Talks and they were so inspiring.
I’d like to thank you Joshua, for introducing me to minimalism in a very accessible way. Just a year after discovering your site and minimalism I was able to quit my job, move abroad (a dream of many years), and start my own business. Becoming Minimalist is still one of my favorite blogs, and I go through your archives all the time. So thank you for sharing your journey so that I could begin mine.
Paul, who blessed us with a car when ours died and who has helped our family in so many ways.
John, my husband and hero. He is truly a man of integrity and I am proud to stand beside him!
Vera, my beloved mother, who consistently goes above and beyond to make the lives of others easier. She has canned fruits, sauces, and vegetables every season for as long as I can remember. She has always been generous with gifts of veggies from her garden, meat from the hunt, and sweet treats at Christmas. She raised two children to be independent, successful adults. And she let’s her grandchildren play in the mud. She is amazing!
Katrina Kennedy says
This is a beautiful post.
I’d add my husband, and the many people like him, who left the corporate world to become a junior high science teacher. The kids he’s taught have benefited from a positive male role model in their lives who gets that school is not about grades but truly getting excited about science. He set aside society’s $$ metric for something with heart and soul.
Sarah Kathleen Peck says
You are wonderful. Thank you.
Oops, forgot in previous post. Joshua, thank you for providing the opportunity to share so many positive stories of people making a difference in this world.
I have a #8 as well. Motherhood is a good career. Excellent mention.
My friend Hari Berzins and her husband Karl (and their two children) are sharing their experience of creating a simpler, more frugal and sustainable ilfe. After losing their home and business in the financial crisis, they took their misfortune and made it an opportunity for change. They now live mortgage-free with a small environmental footprint–in a tiny home they built themselves. (And what a rich life!)
They reassessed, accepted responsibility, and began working to start over. They chose to be public with their journey through http://tinyhousefamily.com in hopes of encouraging others to make similar life changes if they wanted. I could could on and on, but Hari says it best herself. She has a post titled “Shower Curtain Dilemma” that speaks volumes.
Suzette @ jambalaya says
So glad your wife is mentioned. She has a quiet but beautiful job and I’m right there with her. :)
Lisa Price Watlman says
My co-worker at Silver Key Senior Services, Karen Bartlett carries bag lucnches in her vehicle (as does her hubby) so when they see a homless person on the corner, they pull up and hand them a bag of nutritious food and drink to hold them over until their next meal. She rocks!
Terry Hadaway says
I’ll add my wife to the list. She managed our home, raised two incredible boys, worked outside the home to put me through school, attended school herself, takes time to invest in the lives of other women, and flies below the radar! She encourages me to live my why, shares her ideas to make my books better, and helps us live a simple life so we can simply live. Though she might not be famous (yet), the world is a better place because of her!
My two aunts, who each looked after their mothers as the main carer when they became older and less able. It meant that both mothers could stay in their own homes much longer than would have otherwise been the case. They travelled long distances, spent time away from their own families, worked caring around stressful and difficult jobs, dealt with the authorities, supported their mothers in going to see friends and keep other relationships going, and kept the rest of the family together, often at great emotional, social and financial cost to themselves. It was really amazing and I hope that I will be able to follow their example.
I like #9 the best. Moms are under appreciated.
Me too! Well, number 8, right? And I love that there’s no link to a blog or anything.
oops. yep 8! Kim rocks!
Joel Zaslofsky says
I guess I can’t include you on the list since I already publicly appreciated you on my website at the start of the week. Besides, that would be too cliche.
I’m recognizing most of the names on your list as people who attended WDS. You can bet I’ll be there next year to experience the magic with everyone else.
I’d like to add Scott Dinsmore of http://liveyourlegend.net/ to your list. He radiates a genuineness and helpfulness I rarely see these days. Not too many people live up to their website’s tagline like Scott does (“Change the World By Doing Work You Love”). He’s also also a fellow WDSer and change catalyst for so many people who follow along with his journey in life.
Lisa Dulara says
My mother, Kathy- who as a retiree crochets baby blankets for friends, family and friends of us all AT NO CHARGE! She is constantly making warm hats during have when the winter and pretty scarves as well. Rarely does she take any money although she certainly could use it. She does it because she likes to and enjoys the appreciation others have when the receive it. She has a very giving heart.
Karen Collacutt says
Suzanne Evans with her Help More People Foundation and the Global Impact Project, an initiative between Suzanne Evans Coaching and Camfed, an organization dedicated to fighting poverty, HIV, and Aids in Africa by educating and empowering women to become leaders of change. Suzanne and a group of entrepreneurs just returned from Zimbabwe were they worked with entrepreneurial women there to help them grow their businesses so they can support their families, and build their communities. http://helpmorepeople.com/
Amy @ New Nostalgia says
Robyn from She Makes Hats. Her life goal is to knit 10,000 Hats For Charity and she is well on her way. So inspiring.
Jon Maiden says
Chris Gruar, who is putting his teaching career on hold to cycling over 30,000km from the UK to Australia, to raise at least £10,000 for the Association for International Cancer Research. Read more about his epic ride here: http://cycling4cancer.wordpress.com.
Beautiful to see so many generous and open hearted people in these world. These are the people that make the real difference in life, not the ones that have the biggest wage package
Beth @ Aunt B's Kitchen says
My brother is an MLA (a member of our provincial legislature) and I do admire his work, but it’s my sister-in-law that I wish to mention here. She works tirelessly, not only to support my brother’s efforts and to care for her family, but also to better our community through volunteer work. She has a full time job but still manages to give many hours each week to several community groups, and – in addition – quietly works in the background to promote and help move forward various fledgling businesses and community organizations that have come to her attention. She never requests recognition for her efforts but in her quiet way has done more for our community than most people I know.
I am sacrificing the comfort of my life, leaving my relationship of five years, and delaying my entry into a career in order to serve as a volunteer in the Peace Corps. I leave in September. My impact will be small, but I’m risking everything I’ve created thus far in my life in order to do it. My life will never be the same, for better or worse. But it’s a calling, and it’s something I must do.
Cheryl @ handcraftedtravellers says
A good friend just lent us the money to purchase a small homestead close to our own farm, so that we can finally start a business from home. He believed in us when no one else did and he will not accept any interest in return. We will be forever grateful! What an amazing act of kindness!