One person can’t make a difference.
While together we can accomplish more, one person has made and can still make a difference. When you take a look at History – and we have over 6,000 years of record – you will notice that there are grand and defining moments in cultures. In those defining moments – and some are positive and some negative – most of the time, if not all, they took place first, and foremost, by one person stating the needed change. From that statement, interestingly enough, three groups are exposed: 1) “Yes… that’s right and I am with you”, 2) “No way, and I will not go along with you”, and 3) “Whatever!”. They were always there, but now, the truth (or the lie) is on the table for choices. One person can change the course of a culture, whether it is a nation, community, or workplace. It is not by virtue of “making” people do anything, but rather living in a manner that influences and impacts the people around so they see and choose the difference. We are contagious! And it is either in a positive way or a negative way. This does not guarantee a change by others, but it has taken place in history and can still take place today. It will take time, but a right-positive change begins with one person choosing to be it and do it. Example: William Wilberforce (1759-1833); leader of the movement to abolish the slave trade in the United Kingdom. It took forty years, but it started by him living it and standing and speaking it. Our own country – the United States Of America – came alive in much the same way; someone rose to the challenge and spoke the truth, and we are living the results of that utterance in Positivity.
Making Change Doable
“Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.”
- Arthur Ashe
A new year is in sight and as many of you have, I’ve been thinking about making some changes. (Weird, how a calendar date brings about this way of thinking, isn’t it?) Most of these changes have to do with exercising and eating. In fact, this tends to be my focus most ‘new years’ but as I get older, I find that my motivation is shifting. At one time, a change in my exercise and eating habits was about how I looked. I’d be lying if I said that didn’t matter anymore but I can say that it matters less. I know that when I exercise consistently, I feel better. I have more energy, my perspective on work is more balanced, and life definitely is more positive. I would say the same is basically true when it comes to my eating habits. When I eat right, I feel better. And, the bottom line is…..feeling better allows me to do the things I want to do.
This isn't an earth shattering revelation. In fact, it is relatively simple and I think that is why it motivates me…..it’s simple. Prescribed diet and exercise plans are typically not simple. Sometimes we need them to get us going and some certainly provide needed education. However, at the end of the day, it all comes down to moving more and changing what and how much we eat…..really, it is that simple. The complicated part for me is when I get all caught up in the logistics—the how, where, when, how much, etc. It starts to feel really overwhelming. And, when I feel overwhelmed, I shut down and revert back to what I've always done. This year, I’m going to take Arthur’s advice. I’m going to figure out where I am now. Figure out what I already have around me to support my changes. And, then, do the best that I can amidst all the other parts of my life. This feels real and doable….and, simple. Bring on the New Year!
The Power of Follow Through
“What one does is what counts. Not what one had the intention of doing.”
- Pablo Picasso
I recently listened to the audio book, ‘The Promise of a Pencil’ It was the story of Adam Braun and his journey from giving a pencil to each child he met on a backpacking trip to the creation of a ‘for purpose’ organization, Pencils of Promise, that builds schools and provides education to children in countries where little or no formal education existed. (Currently the website states that 226 Schools have been built since 2009.) One of the more memorable quotes in the book is, “…..the single most wasted resource on earth is human intention.” WOW! I can think of so many times that I felt VERY passionate and motivated to take some action; whether that was related to giving of my time to a particular organization, beginning an exercise program, connecting with an old friend, or taking time to write in a journal. Then….time passes, passion wanes, and I’ve moved on to other things. But…not really…..these moments come back and I regret not moving forward on more of my intentions. I wonder how my personal well being, family, and community would be different…..if I had followed through. What’s possible if we followed through on our intentions?
“All great changes are preceded by chaos.”
- Deepak Chopra
Hmmmm……chaos? When we think about chaos, the condition of our house or the schedule for the upcoming week comes to mind. I know that my office is in a state of chaos, for sure! However, when talking about change, chaos is that really crucial time that occurs before change can happen. It is unavoidable; it really is a part of the natural design of change. Margaret Wheatley writes,
“I believe nature offers abundant displays of order and clear lessons for how to achieve it. Despite the experience of fluctuations and changes that disrupt our plans, the world is inherently orderly. It continues to create systems of great scope, capacity, and diversity. And fluctuation and change are essential to the process by which order is created.” (Wheatley, Margaret, Discovering Order in a Chaotic World, p. 19)
In other words, like nature, we always strive for order despite the most unpredictable circumstances. But, there are times in our lives when we need to strive for a ‘new’ order. To get to that ‘new order’ we have to step into the chaos -- the messy, unpredictable space that makes us uncomfortable and causes us to run back to the comfort of the ‘old order.’ Today…..I encourage you to dip your toe into the chaos. Begin the process of moving towards your ‘new order;’ experience some discomfort; open yourself up to what will emerge! Embrace the chaos! (Meanwhile, I’ll go clean up my office!) kathy