The impact we have on each other takes a view of the big picture to notice most of the time. Most of the time we’re too wrapped up in ourselves to notice the impact we’re having on another. And most of the time, when someone has made a memorable impact on us, we fail to ever let them know. It takes only seconds to reach out to someone and quickly, directly say “thank you” — to let them know how important they have been in our life. And yet, the simple act of doing this creates tension, so we avoid it.
We make a lot of connections throughout our lifetime, but inevitably there will be the rare few who have profoundly affected us, helped us to grow and who have changed our lives even if in just some small way by crossing paths with us.
I can list these people, for me, on both hands and still have a few spots left over. I will remember them always:
There was the high school art teacher who saw someting in me, pulled me from the shadows of the back of the room—where I could usually be found hiding—encouraged me, and helped me to win a Scholastic Art and Writing Award.
There was the wonderful boss who saw something in me and moved me from Philadelphia to New York City, effectively starting a decade-long growth journey that continues with no end in sight, and takes my life to new and exciting places every single day.
There was the entrepreneurial potter who could easily exude both class and irreverence with little effort, from whom I learned that ignoring the naysayers—even if one of them is your own mother—and pursuing your passions can pay off.
There was the creative legend who I felt connected to during our very first phone conversation, even though we were separated by an ocean... He saw something in me right away, championed my work when not many others understood it, and taught me that I’m worth it and that I should act like it—even when others around me can’t see or refuse to see.
There is the popular entrepreneur who taught me that working collaboratively with and learning from each other can be more valuable than a lecture from an expert. He, through my peers, taught me how to leap.
And there are two others who were taken from me, whose impact is still too raw for me to write about. They taught me that people can be both different and the same, and that it’s the differences that count more than anything—the differences help us to learn and grow.
I wrote a while ago about the importance of some “things,” meaning physical objects, works of art, artifacts and proof of a people’s existence. In this way, I’ve noticed that social media has become important. It may sound silly, but one’s Instagram account, for example, continues to live on after they’re gone. We can visit it again if we'd like, to be reminded of the beauty they brought to the world when they were here. We shouldn’t discount this.
Creative people, in my opinion, are some of the most undervalued and misunderstood people in the world; yet without creative people the world would be a hollow, dull shell. My advice to others out there who would hear it, is to be sure to notice the rare few connections who are impacting and changing your life in profound ways—most often they will be creative people, both traditional and non-traditional. Don’t let them go by unnoticed and never forget to thank them.
To those I've mentioned above: I hope you always know who you are. Thank you for making my life better, just because we happened to meet.