I took the IMPACT Core class in 1995. So that was…. seven years ago? No, wait. Seventeen years ago. Ugh. (What happened to the last decade?)
My intent was to be able to travel throughout the US, on the Greyhound Bus and the Green Tortoise, with a greater sense of safety, without resorting to carrying a weapon.
I got so much more out of IMPACT than that, in subtle ways. I learned to de-fuse and deescalate situations. On the el, walking home, in the office, in art and dance studios, riding my bike in traffic, arguing with my mother—all are opportunities to apply the lessons in setting boundaries, saying no, and bringing awareness.
When I first got my new job, I was torn between being nice, and fulfilling my responsibility of delivering products on time and within budget. I could understand my coworkers’ insistence on design perfection and quality content. However, this was gumming up the works. We were outputting only rarely a tangible result. I exercised the IMPACT “NO!” I learned to insist on what I felt was best, even if I wasn’t making friends in the workplace. I assumed the consequences of my decisions, and though I took some snubs, I feel more confident professionally.
Have you noticed how, when you’re happy and light-hearted, people of all ilk, the joyous hopeful ones but also the miserable ones, are drawn to you? After several strangers and quite a few acquaintances pressed me into saving them and improving their morale, I realized what was going on. I had to draw a line. I firmly told them that I would not be manipulated, made to feel guilty, or embarrassed into taking care of them or healing their emotional wounds. I can’t be responsible for someone else’s happiness. Just as in the IMPACT classroom fights, it’s OK to stand up for myself, and to live for me first.
What I have now is a choice—to engage, to walk away, to resist, to surrender, to coil then spring forth. It’s my choice, and no one can take it away from me.
Unfortunately, I haven’t had a chance to use any of the kicks and strikes in all these years, because no one has mugged me quite as well as the classroom muggers used to!
Word of mouth is the most effective tool we have because it is a message born of experience, conveyed with firm belief, out of concern and respect for the recipient.
IMPACT--pass it on!