How To Make An Unforgettably Positive Impact On Others

I’ll never forget the moment the furniture tycoon rolled down the window of his car and told me something that literally changed my world. It also showed what powerful leaders are able to do, and why they are unforgettable when they do it. Want to know what he did? Read on.

We were in the midst of a major house renovation.  Workmen, rubble, dust-  everywhere.  Worse still – big bills coming in every three weeks. Costs were blowing out.  I was losing courage and faith. Anyone who has been through this knows the feeling. It’s overwhelming.

Then it got even worse. The architect pushed for us to do an additional phase of work- to renovate the roof cavity to create more living space. It made huge sense. But the additional cost was simply a bridge too far.  I just could not bring myself to go that extra step.  Even though…dammit…it made sense!

We had to make a decision by the Monday. We went to the deserted work site on the Sunday to contemplate. I was totally confused, petrified, paralyzed.

My Neighbor To The Rescue

My neighbor drove up. He’s an entrepreneur  who has built a highly successful, nationwide high end furniture business.  “How’s it going?” he asked. “Not good,” I sighed. “We have a dilemma; whether  to renovate the roof space. But it’s the cost. I am so nervous it will be a mistake.”

“Chris,” he enthused.  “You can’t go wrong! Have faith. It’s a no brainer! That extra space is practical, and will add big new value. Do it. You won’t look back. Remember- fortune favors the brave!” And with that he drove off with a wave and thumbs up.

My shoulders lifted. My pulse raced. Excitement built. This self-made leader had created a substantial business by taking prudent risk, and by being bold. Of course we should do it! On Monday, we gave the green light. And we have not looked back.

So-What Had He Done That Was So Special?

What my neighbor did at that moment in time was to give me confidence. He gave me a feeling of  hope; and a feeling that inspired me into action.

Remember- as a leader, people won’t remember what you say, or what actions you take, but they will always remember how you make them feel.

The key to great leadership is the ability to inspire. And inspiration is all about feelings.

Think about the people who have had the most impact on you in your life (positive or negative). Can you honestly remember all the things they said? Or did? Probably not. But can you remember how they made you feel? I bet you can. Like it was yesterday.

A good leader inspires people to have confidence in the leader; a great leader inspires people to have confidence in themselves

Napoleon said: “Leaders are dealers in hope.”

I have always been a ‘shameless dispenser of enthusiasm.’ I know I can inspire and lift others if I put the energy into it. Sometimes, and I don’t know why, but sometimes I kind of feel a bit resentful having to do it. It’s a selfish feeling. Very. I don’t know why I have it, but I do.

If you want to be a genuinely effective leader, you need to learn your own way to inspire and motivate others: to create positive feelings that help them back themselves, push through their fears and achieve their potential; to create positive feelings they will never forget. And you need to be very generous with your energies, and do it often.

After all, a candle loses nothing by lighting another candle. Sounds trite- but it is, quite simply, true.  Just think about what my neighbor did for me that day. He was generous with his energies, dispensed hope, and made a very positive difference.  And- I’ll never forget how that made me feel. Ever.

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11 Responses to How To Make An Unforgettably Positive Impact On Others

  1. Arthur February 22, 2012 at 11:10 am #

    Great post Chris! I have to agree – the best and great leaders are always the ones who make you feel and think. They have an infectious energy that stems from their compassion that ultimately motivates others.

    • Chris Savage February 22, 2012 at 2:04 pm #

      Thanks Arthur!

  2. Sarah Moran February 22, 2012 at 11:20 am #

    I’m really interested in what you’ve said about the resentment you feel about being the enthusiastic one. And about knowing it’s selfish.

    I feel like this a lot – and sometimes go to the point of saying “I’m fed up with being the ball of happiness so I’m going to sit here and someone else can take on the responsibility”. But then I forget and wind up defaulting back to my naturally enthusiastic state.

    I want to know why you feel it’s a selfish thing – because I usually describe my non-motivational time as something I feel guilty about.


    • Chris Savage February 22, 2012 at 3:34 pm #

      Because I have the ability to do it, it takes little effort to do it, yet I hold back sometimes and don’t do it. So that’s selfish. I know I am being selfish. I am aware of not doing it and make a choice not to do it. So I can’t hide from the selfishness of that. Chris

  3. Doug February 22, 2012 at 7:20 pm #

    Whenever the brain tries to make a rational decision, the heart fights back. Your neighbor gave you heart!

    • Chris Savage February 26, 2012 at 2:17 pm #

      He certainly did Doug. Actually, he just read the post and sent me this email.

      Hi Chris,
      ….. . Waiting for a flight an hour or so later I’ve just read and enjoyed your latest blog.

      Two things come to mind:
      1. As we all know: business (if not life) is essentially just a large collection of problems – how well you succeed depends on how much you embrace the challenge this risk environment delivers. As we are told that most human-beings are hard wired to avoid problems and risk then surely it follows that the brave have it all to themselves!
      2. All my life I have also noticed that more often than not ‘confidence triumphs over ability’ big time – put the above together with this and occasionally someone will ask for your autograph – bizarre.

      “if ignorance is bliss, tis folly to be wise” Socrates Signed.

      Your Neighbor

  4. Mike February 24, 2012 at 11:39 am #

    how did you pay for the roof extension?

    • Chris Savage February 26, 2012 at 2:17 pm #

      Sold my Photon shares early.

  5. Peter Mountford February 24, 2012 at 8:30 pm #

    Nice article Chris. It would be interesting to know if you knew of your neighbours business success when he spoke to you on that Sunday?

    The only reason I ask is because from my experience good leaders have to be able to speak with some authority by having walked the walk. If your neighbour hadn’t taken risks himself in his career his advice most likely wouldn’t have had the same impact on the way you felt.

    • Chris Savage February 26, 2012 at 2:18 pm #

      Yes that’s fair enough. No- I guess it would not have had the same impact. Chris

  6. Dianne McLaren August 14, 2013 at 7:04 pm #

    Chris, I loved your blog. It is true you never ever forget how others make you feel. Good and bad. Thanks for sharing.

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