A few years back, I sat in my car outside our neighborhood Walmart and wrote myself an email. Some people just talk to themselves, but I prefer to put my neurotic episodes in writing.
While I was obviously proving every stereotype about the crazy people who shop at Walmart, I was also sending myself a sane reminder. A much needed butt-kicking I needed to remember clearly when I got to the office the next morning.
Here’s what I wrote to myself:
You don’t have to start the next big movement to make a difference. Sometimes, I think you get paralyzed because you want everything to scale or become so big that it’s mass-marketable and gets people talking. You don’t have to start something that becomes “known.” Just do something that makes a difference.
From your seat. With your experience. With your assets. It doesn’t have to be any bigger than that.
Anonymity is not lack of impact. In fact it might mean more impact (and less distraction). Remember, most people don’t want to change the world, they just want to be known for changing the world (Lencioni).
Don’t fall victim to that.
Do what you are called to do. Period. Seek to make a difference, not to build a reputation. That will take care of itself.
Now let’s get to it.
Your Sane and Sober Self
There’s nothing wrong with accolades, book deals, speaking at conferences, or sharing and scaling your ideas. I’m all for it. But being known doesn’t mean that you matter. Being known doesn’t mean you’re making a difference. Being known isn’t the point.
Here’s a question worth pondering:
If you could make a major impact on the world but nobody ever knew it was you, would you still be satisfied?
What if your success is anonymous?