Leaving Residue

The mark of rain on freshly cut grass.

The ash splattered all over the side of a volcano.

The extra bit of moisture in a saucepan after steaming vegetables.

The somewhat solidified paint on a brush left out after painting.

The small morsels of deliciousness saved on the corner of our mouths because we are saving food for later.


These are examples of things that are leftover. Small items never whole that stick around. The word used to describe such a remaining substance material is residue. While often we think that residue is something tangible that is visible to the human eye the definition might make you think about more. Residue is defined as the a small amount of something that remains after the main part has gone or been taken or used. As human beings we have a distinct residue that marks our work.


Whenever we go from day to day, person to person, place to place we are never always going to be long. Sometimes it is a few minutes or it can also be a few years. Those minutes, days, months, and years however do add up. This exciting because it creates the opportunity for impact. The opportunity for creating impact can never be lost and regardless of whether we are trying to make an impact or not on others and the world we are. The impact we have has a direct connection to our residue. What is your residue? What is the small remaining substance that is left once you leave. Is our residue one of quality or is it one of distain and hatred. I was struck by this thought of residue. I think about making an impact and am developing to become better at it though I am still a work in progress. I think impact and get the image of a dent made into someone or something. While we need to leave a impact think of what naturally happens when we dent a car. Eventually the dent can be erased, popped back into place so to speak. Residue is something we leave behind when we walk away. It is left more often on the surface level of the person or object and when good seeps into them naturally and on their own accord. Think of a plant blooming in the sunshine of summer. When rain residue remains on the soil the plant soaks up what is left because it knows it will benefit from it. Our residue is powerful. We don’t leave residue for our own sake, but for the sake of others. When we leave residue it genuinely means we had taken time and invested effort to work on something or someone. Our residue is in essence our legacy. Being able to leave behind a trace amount to develop another is going to do more than if we stay on top of people 24/7. Great people, leaders, do not invest in the developing of others by standing over their shoulder. The tireless work and then release provides a residue.


My favorite chunk of fur!

My favorite chunk of fur!

Me and my wife had had the great pleasure of welcoming four year old English bulldog Savannah into our lives. I have never had a dog before, but the sheer joy I have when I get to see her face walking in the door after a day or just holding her tight is something I can’t quite describe. While Savi, what I call her, being an English bulldog is not the most active she does get a Savi length walk that allows me and my wife to enjoy a beautiful evening. One thing I have grown to learn about dogs is the extreme need to go to the bathroom just about anywhere. Dogs have this innate urge to mark their territory on spots of grass, fence posts, flower pots, just about everywhere. They do this to leave their scent and let all dogs in the area know who is here. They want to mark their territory with even the smallest amount of urine. What if we did the same as dogs, no not urinate anywhere, and leave our residue on the places we are at. It could be a physical place, a job, a team, or anything of the like. We will inevitably leave and when we do our residue will be left.  


We live in a day and age when we can connect with the world and leave residue in many forms. Human trouble spurns from us not leaving just leaving a residue, but simply not working to leave one at all. Not leaving a residue will never happen. Each day we live and do we leave residue with others. That is not the issue. The connections we fail to make resulting in us not being able to leave our residue in bigger/deeper ways is the issue. The Human Population Laboratory did a survey in 1965 out in Alemeda County, California of almost 7,000 individuals. Out of the study it was found that people were up to three times more than likely to die within the nine years study span if they had weak social ties. Weak social ties directly impact the residue that can be left. Social connection doesn’t mean millions. You can be an influencer to five people just as good as someone who has five million. Residue is the substance we leave behind for all those we connect with directly and indirectly.


What are things we can do to leave a more powerful residue. One that impacts and leaves others with a great sense of who we are and the legacy we are defined with?


  1. Smile – Smile more and the effect it will naturally pass along to others is one of warm positivity. The great thing about a smile is it takes less than a second to perform. Smiles engulf a space with intrigue and an aura of belief that we sometimes can’t put a finger on. Be sure to have our smile on when we interact with others, speak or do actions, and are in a hard time. Even in struggle a smile can leave a residue on others that empowers greatness.

  2. Say “Thank You” – Chik Fila got it 1000% right when they had their employees respond to every customer with “Thank You” and “It is my pleasure”. The residue that simple acknowledgement provides is pure gold. When something is done for us in anyway be sure to say/write/text/Snapchat thank you. People walk away with your residue of those kind words better than before.

  3. Walk In The Rain – Ok maybe not literally, but whenever it rains there is a residue left on the earthy ground. To glean more strength in our residue we must get in the rain and soak up as much as we can for our situation. Read, watch, learn, and grow. That is the only way we can leave a beneficial residue on others. Find that avenue for you that helps you.

  4. Be Present – Be where your feet are. To leave residue learn to live more present. We do not want to miss those opportunities to pour more into the thing we are in and leave residue. Clear our mind and learn to focus. Become better at active listening and touch the space in the here and now. We cannot change the residue (good, bad, or indifferent) from the past and we certainly leave residue in the future as it hasn’t occurred yet. Be present, physically, mentally, and emotionally with our heart. Part of being present is also not being absent. Show up and we have the chance to leave the residue.

  5. Partner with friends – Struggling to find things to do that leave residue for others? Join with your friends, teammates, co-workers. Organize an activity to benefit others, plan a weekend of volunteering, go clean a local park, the possibilities are really endless. Joining with friends gives us to the strength to possibly get out of our shell and utilize each other’s strengths. Quite naturally as well when we work with others is we will leave residue on our friends and grow them as well.

  6. Self-Care – To not include self-care on this list would not be right. To be at our best and leave high quality residue we must take a moment to do things that allows us to care for ourselves. No one wants bad, ill tasting residue. We must work on our mental health, take time to be mindful, take our mental medicine otherwise we inevitably will leave a residue that is not a purest. If you need help in this area reach out to someone. Self-care turns into self-destruction very easily if we don’t get the right assistance.


What is the residue we are leaving today? What trace substance does or work leave? If all human kind took time to leave residue that benefited others our world would never be the same in a great way!



Steven Hovermale