An ol’ professor of mine asked the class to raise their hands if they truly believed the grades on small assignments mattered. Some students kept their hands down signifying only the large assignments mattered. The professor responded with one of my favorite sayings.
He went on to say the grade itself matters, sure, but more importantly it’s the impression that matters. “Everything, no matter how little or big, leaves an impression,” he said.
His words resonate with me still to this day.
Every action we take (and don’t take) leaves an impression. The 20 poor ideas you pitch during the brain storm session, they may have been rated poorly, but your impression of pitching 20 ideas matters. It shows you’re committed, willing to risk ideas while others play it safe, and able to use your imagination.
Inaction (which I have to point out is still an action) also leaves the impression.
Earlier today I was at an event to listen to Mariah Haberman speak. I noticed a handful of guests standing around waiting for the event to start. No conversing with other attendees. No networking using the twitter hashtag for the event. No engagement at all. You can imagine the impression they left.
I, and I’m sure my ol’ professor (and you now?), can’t stress enough how much everything we do matters.
Forget the “grades.” Focus on the impressions.
Stay Positive & Start Asking Yourself “What Impression Am I Leaving?”
[Lucky for you SMBmadison recorded the presentation. You can listen to Mariah here.]