As a kid, I loved watching I Love Lucy. Now, as an adult, I still love it, and so do my kids. We have been watching it together most evenings, and their belly laughs every time Lucy does some sort of physical humor are infectious.
In one of I Love Lucy’s later seasons, Lucy and the gang go to Hollywood, and chaos ensues. Lucy is smitten with a celebrity she saw or a famous person she is dying to meet in one episode after another. The problem is, the famous people that Lucy is gaga over are all names I’ve never heard of before.
I Love Lucy was the biggest show of its time and arguably the biggest show of all time. That show brought in the biggest A-List celebrities at the height of their careers, but you and I aren’t likely to recognize their names.
Lucy was in Hollywood about 67 years ago. That’s a pretty short time for superstars to go from making fans swoon to being completely unknown, and yet that’s what happened. Sure, some names endure, like Lucile Ball, but even her name will fade with time.
I’d rather create impact than be famous.
Fame and impact aren’t the same things. Fame puts you in front of people, entertaining them. But impact connects you with people, shaping their lives, helping make things better.
The harsh reality of the human condition is that even today’s most famous movie stars will likely be wholly forgotten in 50 years. If that’s true for someone with that kind of star power, how much more is it true for you and me?
But, being remembered isn’t what matters; making a positive impact on people is. I’m ok if no one remembers my name when I’m gone; that’s inevitable. I hope that while I’m here, I can improve the lives of others, helping them improve the lives of the people around them and making our world a better place than the one I found. That’s impact. That carries on and multiplies from generation to generation, from life to life.
People don’t last forever. Names don’t last forever. Legacies don’t last forever. Impact does. I don’t want to be famous; I want to be impactful.