Something wonderful happened to me.

And I almost never knew.

Recently there was a Zumba convention attended by 10,000 people throughout the States. In that crowd was my friend, Neshe Antelis, a Zumba instructor, who happened to be at the opening event where the CEO of this company spoke. She also happened to have her cell phone with her, and texted me the second she heard my name mentioned during this opening talk.

This CEO didn’t know me, but somehow had come across one of my blog posts. And he decided to share parts of it with the audience. Even more amazingly, he was honest and respectful enough to quote me by name (he easily could have just said that he read an article online).

He had no idea that I would ever learn that this took placeHe had no idea that anyone there would know who I was. More so, he had no idea that I would ever learn that this took place.

But fortunately, I did. Though I so easily almost didn’t.

Now, when I wrote how all these occurrences “happened” to happen, clearly I don’t believe they were coincidental. I believe in hashgacha pratis, divine providence, which means that everything, yes everything, happens for a very specific reason.

Yet that is not my point here.

Absolutely, the way everything fell into place is divine providence in a way I could so easily see. But the real lesson for me was how this could have happened without me ever knowing. And more so, how—had he simply not mentioned my name—no one ever would have known.

Because this CEO, this founder of a multi-billion dollar industry, made the effort to mention me by name, I was gifted with knowing that my writing affected him and that he chose to share it with the ten thousand people in attendance. And who knows, maybe he has shared it with other audiences?

It is so easy to look at our lives and wonder what impact, if any, we are really having. Sure, we know that we influence our friends and loved ones, and hopefully others in our community. Based on the type of work we do, we might even have “proof” that more are being reached by our actions or performance. But regardless, it is so easy to wonder what difference we make.

I know I look to superficial things for proof as to whether or not I am successful. Did people laugh when I made a joke in that lecture? Did people even bother showing up at all? Did people comment on my article? Did they press “like” on my Facebook post? And when these things happen, then I might feel that I did what I set out to do. But all too often, for whatever the reason may be, we don’t get the recognition or feedback that we wanted or hoped for.

But that doesn’t mean the impact wasn’t made.

Ironically, the particular article that inspired this CEO was not one of my “popular” ones. It didn’t receive many comments or feedback (that I was aware of). But that is the thing. What we see happen and what actually happens can be two very different things.

We are now entering the month of Tishrei, our Jewish new year. We are reflecting on our past, working on our weaknesses and preparing for a stronger, better and healthier future. We ask forgiveness from those we hurt, and we pray for a year of goodness and sweetness.

We might not see that difference until we reach the tipping pointThere is no question that we all want to make a positive impact in the coming year. But we need to know that we may never even know the influence we have, or have had. We need to believe that if we do the right things, if we speak in a positive way, if we help others in need, then whether or not we see the proof of our actions, they undoubtedly affect and uplift our lives—and more so, the world.

Sure, it’s easy to think that “no good deed goes unpunished,” but isn’t it so much more productive to know that every good deed makes a difference? We might not see that difference until we reach the tipping point. But it is being made. And sometimes, just sometimes, we are fortunate enough to be blessed with the right person in the right place at the right time to let us know that credit was given where credit was due.

P.S.: It’s funny: I wrote this entire post and didn’t want to mention specifics, because I felt like it was “name dropping.” When my awesome editor, Yanki Tauber, read it, his response was, “You go on and on about how nice it is that he credited you by name, but you don’t do the same for him!” So true! So thank you, Yanki, for pointing that out, and thank you, Alberto Perlman, CEO of Zumba Fitness, for giving me a gift you don’t even know I received!