In large and small ways, many people have made a difference in your life. Your parents are your first influencers, and some of your earliest memories can be activities or moments you spent with your family. As you grew and integrated more into your community, a broader range of people made an impact on your life.

For me, it was a social worker at the group home I lived in from the time I was 13 until I left at 16. The struggle I experienced, the anger the not wanting to conform to anything (period) led me to some poor decisions to say the least. And there as that one moment, I had just been returned by the police from having ran away and she sat me down and told me I had a choice to make: continue on my path or get my act together. It was one fo the first times I heard the words: Petra, you’re not stupid. It stuck with me.

And over time, the range of people making an impact on your life likely comes to includes people younger than you, as well as older. The expression “out of the mouth of babes” speaks to the ability of new generations to make a difference with their own brand of wisdom and influence. When I say my kids made a difference in my life every single day, they did.

Think of the people who’ve made an impact on you: often with just a small act of kindness, some words of wisdom, or a conversation they’ve long forgotten.

People like:

  • Family
  • Teachers
  • Church members
  • Mentors
  • Managers
  • Community members

Do you have a cherished memory of someone who affected you in a profound way? You have the capacity to make that same impact on someone else. Small gestures often have a bigger impact than you realize.

Consider this:

Statistics show that human connection is often a catalyst to end periods of depression. Humans are designed to be in relationship with one another. Despite this need, many people find themselves isolated and feeling alone. This disconnection can manifest in mental health and self-esteem issues. Even people who seem like they “have it all together” are often struggling in some area of their life.

Start a conversation with someone who sits alone at lunchtime in the staff room. Ask them about their family and their interests. Your attention and kindness could help bridge an important gap between their current situation and the hope they need to rise up from a difficult place. Simply showing interest in them can be all that it takes to combat the negativity in their lives.

Take a moment to think about the people who have made an impact on your life. Recall the different times that someone’s actions really made a difference in your mood, or the outcome of the situation at hand. Did they do something grand, or something small and seemingly insignificant? Spending time reflecting on who has been important in your life and what they did for you will do a few things – including make you smile and encourage gratitude.

After your reflection, make a conscious decision to do small things for people in your life. Take your time to engage, uplift, help, or encourage those you love most.

  • Take someone out for a meal and conversation
  • Help an elderly neighbor with their lawn care
  • Help a single mom with babysitting
  • Teach a child to bake cookies
  • Mentor
  • Tutor

Thinking about the people who have made a difference in our lives helps remind us how easy it is to make an impact. Being in gratitude for their gestures, large and small, makes it easy to be of service to others with our own kindnesses.

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