“All I want to do is change the world.” - W. Clement Stone
It takes only one person to change the world.
How many times have you heard that saying and glossed over it, thinking that one person wasn’t you? We all know that it is true that it only takes one person: think of Thomas Edison, Steve Jobs, Mahatma Ghandi or Rosa Parks. Yet, we often forget that we too can be that one person.
Not only can we be that one person, we don’t even need the act to be grand in order to affect genuine change. Recently I attended a conference in Denver where I saw my friend, Nancy Levin launch her book at a workshop attended by thousands. After leading the group through an exercise from the book, she invited people to get up on stage and share their experience. A woman took the stage and, with her voice shaking, shared a heart-wrenching tale of domestic abuse, losing herself and custody of her young child.
As she spoke with tears flowing, I recalled that I saw this same woman several months before in New York. She was sharing the same story, but when I saw her in New York I also witnessed her beautiful singing voice. In that moment, I could remember thinking that when she sang, all of the shame that accompanied the story, melted away. When she sang, she transformed the room into silence – almost as if we did not want to miss a note.
At the end of Nancy’s workshop, I felt compelled to find that woman. I am not exactly sure what I said, but I know that I shared that she was inspiring both for bravely sharing her story and her beautiful voice. She nodded and walked away, leaving me suddenly unsure if I had done the right thing.
Months later, I responded to a post on Facebook from a networking group. I didn’t recognize the person who wrote the post, but immediately got a message asking if I was the woman in Denver who came up to her after Nancy’s workshop. It turns out that it was the same woman and she had been hoping to find me just to share that by coming up to her, that I helped her embrace her own vulnerability and the power of just being her.
In that moment, I was struck by how such a simple and natural gesture of reaching out to someone else could affect real change. And the change was not only for her, but for me too. She helped me really see that if we just allow ourselves to connect with other people so much can open up for both parties. Rakale (who has given me permission to use her name) also changes the world by sharing her beautiful music – as she says, just by being her.
In the end, we each can make a difference – no matter how small we may think it is the ripple effect may be beyond any expectation.
Peace Practice Today I invite you to change the world.
- Either intentionally, or organically, allow yourself to see how you can be the change you want to see in the world. It can be as simple as sharing a smile, a thank you, or bravely putting out into the world something you have been working on. Set the intention to make a difference and then simply let it go.
Post Script: Before printing this, I asked Rakale to take a look at what I wrote. She shared with me that she was now being coached and said that Debbie Ford was her hero! As many of you know I am a Ford Institute trained coach and also know Debbie’s work changed my life. Without her, Partners in Peace would never exist. As I said, it just takes one person to change the world!