blog-jim-make-your-markSo many of our our everyday expressions seem less intentional and more reflexive. We say gesundheit after a sneeze or cover our mouths when we yawn. But do we know (or care) about their origins in German language or ancient superstitions? Yet, these nuances are a delicious part of being who we are: human.

Every so often , though, you hear an expression that someone startles you into reality. When our new next door neighbors arrived several years ago, on a whim I marked the height of the youngest child on the jamb of our garage door. We literally, “made his mark.”

Just recently, I noticed that we only had done this twice. Last week, we added to the third mark, and then reality made its mark on both of us.

The two large spaces between the three pencil marks provided a smack of reality to both of us. For Neil, it was pride at how far he’s progressed – “look how far I’ve come” – those marks said. For me, the marks created a equation involving space and time: 18 inches = 7 years. 

If the height of his older siblings and the probabilities of genetics are any indication, Neil will likely keep growing well past six foot tall. (NOTE: I haven’t made my mark on the door jamb, but I’m pretty sure to have topped out at 5′ 10″; no more growth spurts for me, I guess).

When you want to make your mark in your personal or professional life, however, a pencil mark on a wall probably won’t cut it. Still, you can make – and measure – your mark in other ways. Whether we value something extrinsic – sales revenue, margin, new customers/members/partners – or something intrinsic, like finding true empathy or even just feeling better about ourselves and our organizations, we probably all can do a better job of making our mark and measuring our progress.

First, though, we need to note where we have been, where we are, and maybe most importantly … where we want to go. Then, we mark down the tools and techniques that will help us get there – and get to work.

Over the next few months, we’ll develop and reveal the mark that we hope to make. Until then, we’re interested:

What mark do you want to make?