Lifelong Impact

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Point to Ponder:
If today were the last day you had with those in your sphere of influence, what would they remember about you?

iGnite Neissa

Neissa Brown Springmann

This time last year our life was turned upside down. After seventeen years of working as an assistant men’s basketball coach for Rick Barnes at the University of Texas, my husband Russell and the entire staff was let go. There was a humbling saying that Coach Barnes frequently quoted, which was “Proud peacock one day; feather duster the next.” Upon being fired and not having a job for a few weeks, professionally, Russell felt like a full-blown “feather duster.” Then, he really felt like a giant feather duster when he went to clean out his office and found that his name plate had already been replaced and seventeen years worth of office belongings were put in a utilities closet. Fully understanding that this was simply business and the job now belonged to Shaka Smart and his staff, being replaced and feeling forgotten so quickly stung. It’s like being in a committed relationship or married to someone, to then break up and a few months later learn that he is engaged to be married. It’s heart-breaking and cuts to the core, however the key is remembering that what we do, how we look, the things we have, our professions, and even the people we spend most of our time with with are not our identity. It’s always a sad reality, but especially in the workforce or in any organization, people are replaceable. There will always be someone smarter or more talented, and as it relates to the things we have and our outward appearance, there will always be someone who has more or is more physically attractive. What I am getting at is that everything is life is replaceable, however your impact and the way you make someone feel is permanent.

Recently, I had a insightful conversation with a wise women in San Diego. It’s the same woman I referenced in the journal two weeks ago titled, “How Well Do You Rest and Receive.” Not only did she kindly recommend that I take a chill pill and be still long enough to rest and receive God’s love, but upon expressing my restlessness, feeling like I need to strive to accomplish more and that I wasn’t doing enough, she looked me square in the eyes and said, “Do not underestimate the impact opportunity you have in your husband and children’s lives. This is the most important impact you will ever have. Your ability to love, support, encourage and be available to them everyday will create the most extraordinary impact that will live forever.”

As a “recovering over-achiever,” she fully understood my struggle and I appreciated her wisdom and boldness, because honestly and shamefully, I have always underestimated my roll as wife and mom. While I have definitely valued it and certainly viewed it as an enormous blessing and responsibility, I’ve always felt like I needed to do more in every area of my life. It’s my own struggle with approval, contentment and worthiness.

Maybe this is just my struggle, but because the “expectation pendulum” for women has swung soooo far to one side, it’s no longer “enough” for women to live a “simple” life as mom, wife or professional, and to “only” impact our family’s or co-worker’s lives. There is pressure to climb the ladder while also being the president of an organization or co-chairing every event. Meanwhile, we feel like a hamster in a wheel, we are unable to be great at anything because we have said “yes” to everything. We are resentful, exhausted and burnt out, and the people whom we love the most (husbands, children and family members) get the grouchy and easily annoyed and frustrated wife, mom, daughter, sister, etc. This was me, which leaves minimal opportunity to have the long-lasting impact that I know we all desire to have.

The last nine months have been very humbling and revealing. Prior to moving to San Diego, I thought I would for sure expand iGnite into Southern California. After all, it had to be why God moved us (ha!). However, what I am figuring out is that God moved us to slow me down and refocus my priorities. Not only did He want me to rest so that I can fully receive His love, but He needs me to be present and available to my husband and children, because I haven’t been. At times, this has been terribly uncomfortable and very ugly, like an addict needing a purpose and identity fix, but it has also been so dang good.

I can’t express how great it feels to admit that I am unsure if iGnite will expand into California. I’m comfortably waiting for God to show me, but until then, I’m in receiving mode so that I can fully serve my family, be an effective leader for iGnite and create a lasting and fruitful impact. Meanwhile, I encourage you to take a breath, evaluate where your time is spent and determine how you can create a lifelong impact in the lives of the people you love and care about the most.

Action Item:

Take a breath and evaluate where your time is spent. Then, determine how you can create a lifelong impact in the lives of the people you love and care about the most.

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2 thoughts on “Lifelong Impact

  1. Pingback: How Life Can Strengthen You | the iGnite blog

  2. Pingback: Lift Higher | the iGnite blog

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