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Leaving a Life Imprint

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Recently I was at the beach for a quick vacation, and as I was sitting on the shore soaking up the sun, I was fascinated just watching the waves come in and go out, a little closer to me each time, until I had to move my beach chair back from the water onto higher sand or be soaked in the salt water swirling around me.

I couldn’t help but wonder and watch the power of the water on the shifting sands, and then how, within a few hours, all the work of little hands that built sand castles all around me would (within time) all wash away, giving tomorrow’s children a chance to build again.

I get bored easily, so I tend to like to walk the shoreline when I am at the beach. I am a lover of shells and sea life, so scanning the sand is a great mental rest for my busy mind. As I was walking, I noticed my footprints would stay for about 20 seconds before the waves washed my memory away only to follow me down the beach and back again. And, as it usually happens, I began to think about how in life we all leave footprints or imprints in the lives of others, some for good and some…good to be forgotten, and that’s my theme for today.

I want to look at three options for leaving an imprint that we all have a choice to do, and I am going to create my outline by using the following quotes by a few writers who I believe have expressed these paths well.

First is by Kate Chopin who said, “There are some people who leave impressions not so lasting as the imprint of an oar upon the water.”

The second (author unknown) is, “There is no footprint too small that it can’t leave an imprint in this world.”

And the third is by Flavia Weedn, “Some people come into our lives and leave imprints on our heart, and we are never the same.”

That’s a lot to cover in a little bit of time, so let me start with the first one.

There are some people who leave impressions not so lasting as the imprint of an oar upon the water.

I find it an amazing thought that some people have no real impact on others because either they choose not to or they are so shallow in their words and actions that they are not memorable in any way.

If you’ve ever gone out in a canoe and had to dip the oar into the water, you know that within seconds the water fills the space where the oar cut through to make a way upon the water. Can you imagine a life impact so light and so fleeting that it leaves no sign of ever having been a part of the success of moving someone down the proverbial river of life? It astounds me that I meet so many people who are preoccupied with what they want, where they want to go and who they want to be that they never dip down deep enough to stir the mud on the bottom of the lake, to dust up the river bottom silt or to leave an imprint of their time on the lake of life. Amazing when you think about it! Such an opportunity wasted to leave an imprint on the life of another.

Ah, friends, don’t let that be you. If you are going to be in someone’s life, even if for a fleeting moment, let it be a good one.

Make sure you leave an imprint on those you come in contact with, and it goes without saying that I expect you to leave a good imprint on the lives of others and not one that will scar or hurt them. The last thing you want is when someone looks at the imprint you left and all they remember is a forgotten splash of dirty water.

When I speak at conferences I am forceful in reminding my audience that someone is always watching them at work and at home or in the community. Whether you think it is happening or not, I can pretty much guarantee that someone, somewhere, is watching you. Not to be creepy or make you fearful, but what I have seen in today’s generation is that many people are looking for someone to emulate—to admire or to copy—because they have very few role models to pattern their lives after. Wouldn’t it be great if you were that person?

Consider today, will the imprint you leave be more than an oar dip upon the water?

I also love the quote that says

There is no footprint too small that it can’t leave an imprint in this world.

Many of you know that I work with people who are interviewing for college, graduate school, medical school, law school and jobs, and what I find is that there is a group of amazing people from all ages who are leaving their mark on the world.

Whether it is one of my pageant girls who is a voice for Juvenile Diabetes and thus encouraging healthy eating and life choices for her generation, or my National Beef Ambassador who is inspiring a new generation of young people to consider sustainable clean farming to feed the next generation, or my client who has a desire to go into medicine, because, on a medical mission trip, her life was changed, and now she wants to work towards a solution to prevent or manage life threatening diseases.

I could go on and on about the seemingly small footprints of people who are leaving a big imprint in this world by doing what they love and making a living by loving what they do, because there is no footprint too small that it can’t leave an imprint in this world. I hope you trust me enough to believe that, wherever you are in life, you can leave an imprint in this world. When you think about it that way, it is life changing, or it should be, my friend. Just the thought that you can make a difference if you so choose, should be your call to arms to become an example of a life-changing imprint.

Now I wish I could tell you that everyone I meet is on the right path for peace and harmony and leaving lifelong impactful imprints on the lives of others, but unfortunately that is not always the case, and it’s those who are not living up to what they know they should be and do that I want to focus on in these last few minutes…because, for good or bad,

Some people come into our lives and leave imprints on our heart, and we are never the same.

Without a doubt, at some point we’ve all had a traumatic or negative experience that has had an impact on our lives and has left an imprint on our soul. Emotional shocks that cause this can range from the sudden death of a loved one, to an attack or abuse. Without a doubt, you can think of some time in your life when it all came crashing down and you wondered if you would ever survive, much less see the light of day, but here you are—maybe bruised, maybe broken, but still standing.

Did you know that even small upsets that happen in life can leave an imprint that can affect us for a lifetime? These imprints can block and affect our lives if we don’t deal with them, and, the greater the trauma, the longer it can take for these imprints to be cleared so you can live your best life ever.

Some listening today should not shy away from getting professional help to move past the damaging imprint that others have pierced your soul with. There are some things that need the guidance of a wiser soul to help you lessen the tightness of the scar tissue, so you can put your past in the past, and look towards the future with hope and healing. There is no shame in seeking help; frankly, the only shame that I see is when you let it affect your life by not seeking guidance to chart a new course…because, friend, you were made for more, and, because I care about you, I believe you deserve more.

I also believe that some listening need to let go and in a sense let God handle the pain of the imprinted scar, and that would mean a true releasing of the pain that is holding you back; once left on the altar, do not pick it back up again. Once you finally release it, walk away; don’t look back and then stop thinking about it—that just keeps you locked up. Or, as I’ve spoken about in other shows, once you release the pain, friends fill the void with something positive. Leaving a gaping hole is just asking for trouble to move back into your life, so, to heal, you have to fill it with something that brings you joy and peace—that leaves no room for pain.

Only you know who has come into your life and left an imprint on your heart, but I know that you have a choice: to stay in the place of pain, or move past, and let others see in you a new life imprint of healing grace and mercy that is life changing so you will never be the same again…and that would be leaving a life imprint worthy of showing others.

Deb Sofield

Deb Sofield is a Keynote Speaker, Author of the book, Speak without Fear – Rock Star Presentation Skills to get People to Hear What You Say and Encouragement For Your Life ~ Tough Love Memos to Help You Fight Your Battles and Change the World, Radio Talk Show Host in the Salem Network, Podcaster and President of her own Executive Speech Coaching Co., which trains women and men for success in speaking, crisis communications, presentation skills, media and message development in the U.S. and abroad.

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