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  • Janeen Shaffer, PCC

Deliberate Impact and Ripple Effects

The discussions and actions taken around racism has been an eye-opening experience as I become more informed about the range of racism embedded in our systems. I thought I was aware, but I’ve come to realize that I only understood the issues at a basic level. One realization that I see deepening in our collective understanding is that our interactions with each other are not isolated events. We are all connected by every exchange with each other through our behaviors, words, and thoughts.

As individuals begin to take steps that feel meaningful and impactful, I find myself asking “How do we move forward in a way that feels safe, respectful, promotes understanding, and provides needed change?”

A first suggested step is: Ask yourself what impact you want to make in your community and write down your answers. Allow yourself to visualize the communities that you are a part of. A community could mean your work, your neighborhood, your friends, your family, etc. Brainstorm contributions you can make in the community; your impact, no matter how small or large, makes a difference. Some possible answers may look like, “I want to create an impact at work by prioritizing diversity.” “I want to offer pro bono services to an underrepresented community near me.” “I want to be part of my community’s effort to improve access to affordable education.” What does your list look like?

A second suggested step is: From this community impact list, focus on one action to take within the next month. In the above example about prioritizing diversity at work, one action could be working with the Talent team around identifying sources to attract diverse internal and external candidates. Or, you may propose developing a workshop to share with the team around best practices in the workplace on diversity and inclusion and create an action plan supporting those practices within the team. You may even create a book club at work and use the discussion as an opportunity to share different perspectives and motivate others to create change within their own teams. What is one attainable action you can take this month?

A third suggested step: Allow space to take care of yourself. There are many major issues going on in the collective community, not to mention whatever is happening in our personal world around health, relationships, and finances. If we approach our desire to create a positive impact only from a place of “doing” and forget the “being” part, we may create unforeseen ripple effects of being impatient or not being in a place to understand other’s experiences. Our journey of offering acceptance and support to others starts with doing the same for ourselves. What support is needed for yourself on a daily basis?

There are many ways we can contribute to creating a “better” normal versus a “new” normal. As we make systemic changes, I realize this requires many layers of deliberate actions. The above actions are important but they are not enough, they are the beginning. These suggestions represent initial actions of a journey to contribute to your community in a way that is authentic to you and impactful for others.

Janeen Shaffer is a PCC certified coach helping individuals and leaders with their internal development and external performance. If the article resonated with you … follow me on LinkedIn, or contact me at,, IG @janeen.shaffer, Pinterest Shaffer Coaching + Consulting.


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