The Impact Continuum

Recently a friend was sharing with me about a YPO University that he attended last year. One of his favorite talks at the event was on the subject of making an impact on the universe. The speaker shared a framework that he uses to help someone evaluate where they are on their journey. As a framework, it’s pretty straightforward with a series of nested circles that start with self, then family, then friends, then community, and finally universe.

Impact ContinuumIndividually, we all start in the self circle and are focused inward on our own personal well-being. Over time, many people move out along the impact continuum to family and focus more on their spouse and kids, followed by helping their friends. With each circle comes more fulfillment and joy, as long as the inner circles are kept in balance. Positively impacting the community, and the rare person that impacts the universe, are the final two circles, and the most difficult to achieve. As entrepreneurs, there’s an even greater opportunity to help others and it’s a worthwhile exercise to evaluate personal impact on more levels than just scale and profitability.

What else? Where are you on the impact continuum and where would you like to be one day?

4 thoughts on “The Impact Continuum

  1. David,

    Very nice post. A few observations…with no conclusions.

    1) depending on the situation in which you are born, ‘impact’ on self and family is defined differently. I struggle with this. I was fortunate to have two educated parents that gave me the best. Self and family are fine. I should dedicated myself to 4 and 5. But, our natural tendency is to want more for self and family….maybe more than is necessary…..

    2) The greatest leaders of social (and financial) change often skipped (or failed at) #2 and 3 and go directly to #4 and 5. There are very few that didn’t sacrifice family and friends to drive truly seismic change. Good for society, bad for family/friends. Is that OK?

    Again, no conclusions but the post helps surface these internal struggles…

  2. The initial reply is astute. I would agree in large part. It is extremely difficult to have “the greatest generation” kinds of results without sacrificing self-discipline and stewardship for one’s family and friendships. Showing love for one’s family not just by giving things but more importantly by giving kindness and compassion and friendship reaps dividends in the final analysis. That said, the more we show proper attention to cultivating humility and character, the more we benefit all realms in priority before God.

  3. To even change your community is the dream of every start up. But to change the universe. What an idea.
    I think having just started out I’m still very much in the 1st few rings, but would love to be able to reach out to my community and help them. It’s just hard to help people become aware of you.

  4. Entrepreneurship offers the opportunity to transcend the rigors and obligations of day to day life. For entrepreneurs to elevate themselves and the world around them requires more than trying to change the world through work but with a commitment and full time focus that goes beyond commercial pursuits. It is not until you free yourself that you can connect with nature, people and the world/universe on a more natural and spiritual level. To try to do this through commercial pursuits is very difficult of not impossible in my mind. Entrepreneurship affords us sometimes unecpected freedoms and more people need to use this to better themselves, those around them and help positively influence those around them to enable them see beyond the immediacy of commercial isolationism and selfishness to transcend this and its daily, weekly, quarterly … constraints.

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