Making an impact is essential for leaders who want to create positive change and leave a legacy-a trendy thing to say, but a hard tenet to live by. Braden Douglas knows this firsthand, which is why he joined a LeaderImpact group a decade ago. Today, he has the privilege of helping grow this organization across the country and spread its leadership principles.

To help with that mission, he wrote Becoming a Leader of Impact and packed it with real-world examples and engaging stories that will inspire leaders toward impactful change in all areas of their lives, from the personal and professional, to even the spiritual. I recently caught up with Braden to learn what moment inspired him to write the book and his favorite ideas in it.

Published with permission from the author.

What happened that made you decide to write the book? What was the exact moment when you realized these ideas needed to get out there?

The moment I knew I needed to write this book was when I was standing upfront at a hotel ballroom answering questions from people after a keynote I gave to leaders in Calgary, AB.

“I get leadership, but what does impact really mean for me?” a young leader asked me. I could tell just from our brief interaction that he was determined to be successful with his life. I don’t remember the full answer I gave him but I know it wasn’t good. It was full of jargon like empowering, grit, influence, and a myriad of other trendy leadership buzzwords.

Sometimes if we say enough of those words with enthusiasm and conviction, it usually satisfies people and we can get away with it. “Ok,” he said politely. “Thanks for your time.”

He walked away, but I knew he wasn’t satisfied. His question kept eating away at me because I’ve had countless conversations with leaders that I know on this exact topic. They all like the idea of “impact” but have no idea how to really achieve it or what it means. I felt this was the year, with everything that’s going on in the world, to get these ideas out there.

Published with permission from the author.

What’s your favorite specific, actionable idea in the book?

There are a few key concepts that I believe everyone needs to know.

Impact is not about WHAT you do but rather WHO you are. It’s achieved through your ability to influence ongoing positive behavior in others. It’s not your ability to give money or be charitable, but rather impact is being intentional with the relationships you have and teaching, guiding, inspiring, or moving people to a new way of behaving for the betterment of others.

Impact has a COST. When you’re living as a leader of impact, it will cost you time and money in order to influence others. Most people want the results but aren’t willing to pay the cost.

Impact is created when your professional, personal, and spiritual life are integrated and optimized. You have to be good to earn credibility. You need relationships and the emotional and physical ability to influence. And you need a spiritual life that keeps you humble with pure motives to serve without wanting something in return.

No one succeeds alone. There are three types of people leaders need in their lives. A Guard: someone who keeps you accountable and protected from yourself. A Pusher: someone who encourages and pushes you to live a life of impact. A Board: a group of others on this journey to talk with, socialize with, and who are on the same page to create impact together.

What’s a story of how you’ve applied this idea in your own life? What has this lesson done for you?

It’s tempting to want to become a leader of impact on your own. I tried for years through reading, courses, and journaling but I came to realize that no one succeeds alone.

About ten years ago, I joined a LeaderImpact group in my city and found that a “Board” of people to help you in your leadership journey is critical. They were there for me as I grew my business, kept me accountable to living out my faith and core values I felt were important, and they encouraged me when I went through tougher times at work and at home.

I now have the privilege of leading LeaderImpact groups and helping to grow this organization around the world. Leaders have the ability, experience, influence, and affluence to change the world and my hope is that I can help them change it for impact.