How to Matter More

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My pastor made this statement in his sermon today regarding leadership…

Everyone matters to someone.
Some people choose to matter more.

Tim Hawks (Hill Country Bible Church, Austin, TX, 1/2/05)

Everyone matters to someone…and if you can’t think of anyone, you matter to your mom! (And you matter to God.) But you can choose to matter more. In other words, you can choose to make a bigger impact – in your company, in people’s lives, in the church — by what you choose to do.

Here are some of my thoughts and experiences on "mattering more":

Leadership

When you lead and take on increasing responsibility, you matter more to others. Leadership is the capacity and will to rally men and women towards something that impacts lives.  The more you lead, the more impact you make. The more you lead, the more you inspire others. The more you lead, the more you build leaders. The more you lead, the more you matter.

Initiative

Initiative is a common characteristic in leadership. However, a person can lead something they’ve been handed. Alternatively, one can decide to take initiative on an idea, and decide to lead that idea or decide to delegate the execution. To make any impact, someone has to take initiative for an idea to reach critical mass. Without initiative, without the spark, nothing happens.

Over the second half of my career I’ve realized my ideas don’t matter unless they get executed. I’ve learned the hard way that I can’t execute them all. Next, I learned the hard way how to delegate responsibility and ownership. Today most of my ideas are ‘owned’ by others. But, I’ve made a larger impact. However, I’ve made a larger impact and I’ve mattered more to great employees and managers because I’ve helped them succeed.

Listening

When someone listens to me, it allows me to talk. By talking I clarify thoughts, digest emotions, and develop a deeper relationship. Therefore, vice versa. It’s only when we listen that we can truly communicate, build relationships, move things forward, and matter more.

Proactive Communication

I’ve found I can have a bigger influence, make a bigger impact, and matter more by over-communicating. This is one of the principles I just read in Patrick Lencioni’s “Four Obsessions of an Extraordinary Executive”. Increase the frequency of communication and you increase the clarity of purpose. In doing so, you increase your visibility and authority as well. Great leaders communicate, build a more cohesive team, and achieve a bigger impact. 

Giving

When our friends are sick or just had a baby, my wife prepares and coordinates dinners for them. Giving my time to teach kids at church makes a difference in their lives. Under a ‘teach them to fish’ philosophy, my marketing team is giving their time to improve the marketing and operations of a charity, which makes an exponential difference. Giving time, resources, and expertise makes a difference in lives. 

Here’s a quote to conclude this ide:

"Caring about others, running the risk of feeling, and leaving an impact on people, brings happiness."  – Harold Kushner

3 Responses

  1. Will Pate says:

    Great post Sam. You’ve put in words what has become my core desire in life, to purposefully put myself into places where I can matter to people. When I do this I feel like I have best spent my day.
    You don’t see enough of biz bloggers sharing wisdom from their pastors or spiritual mentors – keep it up!

  2. As a non-solo lawyer, is think leadership becomes even more important. Sure, it is just me and my client relations manager. But there are also my clients and referral sources who also look for leadersip. And it is all too easy for a two person office to loose efficiency since there are less people ‘watching.’ And it is also easier to become isolated. Focusing on leadership works against these hazards and keep thing on track.

  3. Jeff Molander says:

    Sam:
    thanks for such a thoughtful post. I have a friend named Haiko who I’ll be sharing this with. He can put these words to good use.

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