I don’t want to be famous. I want to make an impact.

imageI don’t want to be famous. I want to make an impact.

I first wrote that phrase earlier this year when I began to come out of my year long quarter life crisis. As I started to figure out what I was about, what my calling was, and where I was supposed to be, I began to compile a list of small phrases that I could cling to when the next storm rolled in. I knew myself well enough to know that it was a matter of when, not if, one would come and I wanted to be ready for it.

With my skillset, it’s easy to judge how I’m doing by the trackable numbers. How many people downloaded that graphic? What were the views on that video? Did anyone actually read what I wrote yesterday? In those moments, if the numbers don’t meet the expectations, the thoughts of inadequacy, lack of talent, and doubt start to creep in my mind.

Was the graphic not good enough?

Did people not like the video?

What’s the point in writing if no one reads?

Your situation and your skillset are different than mine, but I’m sure those thoughts creep into your head as well. You work your butt off on a project at work and no one to notices. Or you spend all day at home with snotty kids while people you know are out thriving in their careers. Whatever it is, it’s easy to look to the recognition while overlooking the impact.

There are plenty of people out there who are famous but aren’t making an impact.

There are even more people who are making an impact but not getting noticed.

When I was in college, I worked for my school’s football program. One of the guys on staff was a former soccer player from England named Adam. When he came on staff, he didn’t understand football at all. Well, at least not the American kind. Ironically, his job was to be the assistant to the recruiting coordinator. His role was to plan recruiting trips, make phone calls to players, and help us get the best players we could. Imagine a British soccer player calling the home of an inner city running back to talk about football. It’s even funnier in person.

Adam worked hard, supported our coaches, and was great at his job. When signing day came and our head coached announced all our recruits, he would always make a point to say how great of a job our recruiting coordinator, Adam’s boss, did.

Adam’s name never got mentioned.

Adam knew the impact he was making. He knew his role was to assist the coaches. I’m sure part of him wanted the credit publicly, but he didn’t base things around the fame. Instead, he looked around and saw the impact he was making. He saw the small town offensive lineman that was the first in his family to go to college, the defensive back from a poor family who never could’ve afforded college, and the player who transferred from another school to get a second chance. At the end of the day, he knew he was making an impact by watching those guys get opportunities that may have never happened without his work.

I know it’s frustrating when you’re not given the recognition you feel you deserve. It’s deflating, discouraging, and disheartening. There is someone right now who needs you to make an impact in their life. Please don’t let the frustration distract you from what you were made to do.

We don’t need you to be famous.

We need you to make an impact.

Say your prayers and take your vitamins.

Have a nice day.

-Jonathan

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