I recently was at a restaurant and saw several college students wearing team apparel from my former school. While I was at that university, I played a significant role to get their team approved as a new sport and I doubt it would have been established this year without those efforts. I thought about how those students did not even notice me, let alone know me, but through the work I was involved in, it changed the course of their lives. Not having that sport would have likely meant them not going to that college — which would equate to a different (not necessarily better or worse) trajectory for their future.
Maybe this situation struck me because it had such a clear connection to actions with which I was involved: I chaired the committee and now players are here. But I think of the thousands of actions we have all taken that have impacted lives without us having a clue.
Perhaps the party you held resulted in a marriage and children for two attendees, and their grandchild becomes the one to cure cancer. Maybe a phone call that you made delayed a departure and averted an accident. Whether it was the side business that you started, the independent contractor you hired, the volunteer position you held, the friendships you cultivated or the creative works you put out into the world – all of these actions have impacted others in ways that we will never know.
What is certain is that all of your behaviors are having an impact whether it is clear to you or not. Don’t rely on the tangible or visible to measure your worth. Just by being you you’re altering the course of history.