Your impact is bigger than you think

Sometimes it is easy to think that what you are doing isn’t making an impact. Facing enormous global challenges like climate change, or navigating the mind-boggling complexities of the online world, it’s tempting to wonder what difference one person can make.

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You may be trying to find your purpose, discover what is really important to you in life, or plan about your future. Whatever you are doing, it is important to remember your impact is bigger than you think. We had a great discussion around this at a recent Virgin Unite gathering with Igniting Change, and it got me thinking about some simple examples.

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I have been ramping up my fitness work as I get ready to go to space. While I love tennis and kitesurfing, I’ve also done a lot of swimming and cycling over the past few years. These have given me a useful way to think about the impact of an individual

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When you are swimming, your wake is much bigger than you imagine it is. You might not think you create an imprint as a tiny human upon a vast ocean, but just look at the impact your strokes have on the sea. When you are cycling with others, look how much easier it is to work together, using each other’s slipstreams. Will you get in another person’s way, or support them by letting them use your slipstream?

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Often in life, people aren’t conscious of the impact they have. We all have people in our lives who help us along the way, and have a profound impact on the way we see the world and live our lives. Sometimes these people are mentors – for me, people like my mum and Freddie Laker – but they can also be people we meet only fleetingly, or whose work or art moves us.

Who are these people for you? Be sure to thank them for their impact, and think about the impact you are having too.

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