“No matter what stage you’re at in your career, always ask yourself how do you want to be remembered?”
I didn’t quite grasp this concept initially but the more I think of it, the more I liken it to the ripple effect and our conscious and unconscious impact on the people surrounding us. Somehow, this quote echoed through again as we celebrated the career of Diabetes Victoria’s (now-ex) CEO, Craig Bennett and the achievements of people living with type 1 diabetes for 50 years or more at the Kellion Victory Medal award ceremony.
So now I’ve been pondering over this again as I reflect on my work as a diabetes advocate, as a researcher and as an educator. Now throw in the mix of being a mum and how it’s impacted my ability to fulfil those roles and the importance of those identities to me. I’ve always idealised being a key player of something that will create a huge impact in the community. It’s pushed me to embrace many leadership roles, even when I have no idea what I’m doing, at least I’ve come away from each opportunity with new learnings.
Being pregnant while chasing after a toddler has forced me to slow down. More importantly, it’s made me let go of striving for perfection all the time. It’s been incredibly frustrating as I’m brimming with projects and ideas and wanting to chase collaborations with amazing people I’m meeting. Being one person (or maybe even half a functioning person at this stage), it’s hard to feel like you’ve made an impact at all. But when I look around closely, I am making a difference to people’s lives. The excitement and smile on my daughters’ face when I pick her up from childcare reminds me of that.
Now I need to learn to embrace a slower pace of life in preparation of managing two energiser bunnies under two. I know the next few years are not going to be easy. It won’t be all or nothing though – I just need to work within my limits, set my boundaries and focus on improving the relationships I have around me; from my family and friends to colleagues and students. The relationships that we have makes life so much more enriching and we don’t recognise this enough. For me, it makes the extra hours and effort I put it feel worth it, knowing that I had some role in their success.
Sometimes it’s those people that we invest in who will go on to change the world. So if you feel like a small nobody, please do not underestimate yourself or your power to make an impact. Even if it’s something you might not see straight away, know that to someone, you have made their day or said/done something that changed their lives. It’s all about the ripple effect.