Pick a project or an event and document your impact. Let’s look at a quick example,
I spoke at LaxCon, USA Lacrosse’s annual conference, describing how I helped athletes and teams reach their full potential. Six coaches approached me and asked me to work with their teams. Here’s the 160-person Impact Tree that grew from that presentation:
The outcomes for those 160 vary. Coaches gain a better understanding of their “why” and a system founded in dialogue and deliberate practice that helps their athletes develop self-awareness and team awareness. Young people learn that there are many ways to contribute to the success of the team, such as being the Team Counselor if wired with a kind heart (which we can measure!) I traveled to watch one team win the state championship. Twenty-two girls having the time of their life.
In terms of impact, we’re always mining for undiscovered gold. The buried treasure isn’t found in the trophy, though it results in great memories. The buried treasure is what’s learned through the relentless pursuit of the trophy, individually and collectively. No trophy? That’s okay. What you learned will serve you well in college and beyond. That’s the gold we seek.
There were additional coaches and teams that made the journey on their own, using my Destination Unstoppable system as their guide. I thoroughly enjoyed partnering with the coaches and athletes in the diagram, because it’s a universal challenge to get a disparate group of humans to perform well. However, impact at the personal level is equally important.
INDIVIDUAL IMPACT TREE – THE VALUE OF ONE
There’s something powerful about giving hope and encouragement when others feel discouraged or lost. I find my Individual Impact Tree events especially precious.
Zedy is a female sports coach from the Middle East. After hearing me speak on a podcast this fall, Zedy purchased Destination Unstoppable to help her coach a struggling female team. On December 11th, she sent me a message. “Maureen good day dear. I brought the book … I am in chapter 4 and have to admit I am in love already.” Now she has a system for moving her female athletes beyond their petty differences to unify and align behind a common view of success. Her message definitely goes into my 2021 Impact Tree list!
A big highlight for me was helping a police officer prepare for an interview to land her dream job. I tag teamed with my brother, and we focused on describing her strengths and connecting them to success in the new role. We also worked on attacking the adventure with energy. When we pursue our dream job, it’s not the time for humility and stoicism. It’s the time to make impossible for them to NOT hire you! She got the position, and she is now the school resource officer. When I see her, she shares her stories about the relationships she’s formed with students and the funny and sad things she sees within families. Her ability to create and maintain relationships with students is one tool for tackling the problem of disaffected and troubled youth, and she is great in that role.
Other Individual Impact Tree events include a hockey player competing in his first junior hockey game and remaining out of the penalty box (small victories lead to big victories!), a woman who lost her job in the pandemic saying that in the past, it would have terrified her to be in that position. Now that she knows her strengths and why she’s great at what she does, she’s excited about new possibilities.
Sometimes the branches of the Impact Tree grow through degrees of separation. Last month, I spoke with Coach Nicole from Texas. A few years ago we partnered to help a struggling female athlete. Once we evaluated her strengths and understood what made her tick, Coach Nicole began coaching her through that “strengths doorway”. Her confidence soared and her performance snowballed to the point that she recently signed a letter of intent to play for a college! Nobody would have called that a likely outcome a few years back. She said the parents of the young lady gave Coach Nicole all the credit, and Coach Nicole gives me credit, and I say it takes all of us pulling on the rope in the same direction. It was an Impact Tree event with multiple stakeholders. I couldn’t be more pleased for the athlete, whom I’ve never met.
WHAT DOES IMPACT MEAN TO YOU?
Clarity around what success looks like is crucial. What does “making an impact” mean to you? Big numbers? Small? Sales? Clicks? Helping particular groups, industries, or populations? One coach told me that my program helps her “love and value her athletes.” That’s her special, significant impact.
In 2021, my exciting engagements involved state championships and world championships, struggling teams in sport, Fortune 500, and startups, wrangling problem children (adults can be problem children, too!), validating the perspective of all, and keeping trust front and center. I’m thrilled to be part of any team that climbs the difficult path to high performance. And yet, I’m always drawn to the One. What’s my impact on the One?
I think the One has always been my thing. My first recollection goes back decades. I was already an engineer when I began practicing ballet through the Center for Creative Studies. We had the opportunity to travel to Chicago and watch the American Ballet Theatre. Baryshnikov was leading it. I was all in! A fellow student, a high school dancer from Detroit, was eager to go, but her family couldn’t afford to send her. I paid for her travel expenses. We both had a blast and she was thrilled. I don’t remember her name. I don’t know where she is. But I do remember the impact it had upon her. I hope she’s paid it forward in her own way.
Circling back to my fellow lacrosse colleague, Kevin Greene. Our Impact Tree has grown many branches and deep roots! Nearly 750 lacrosse coaches and athletes have adopted the Destination Unstoppable system so that they are more successful inside and outside sport. I’m so grateful for our collaboration.
In 2022, it’s more of the same. Win Like a Girl® is on the horizon. I will plant seeds. Fertilize and water. Whisper words of encouragement. Hold individuals and teams accountable. Shine a light on their greatness. Stand back. Watch the Impact Tree grow.
I hope you’ll build your Impact Tree and celebrate how you’ve made a difference, because I know you have. We all do.
Happy New Year.
PS Last year’s story about ending the year by sending thank you notes remains a great way to celebrate on New Year’s Eve. Thank you notes create impact, too!