I want to change the world!
Some days, I can get really excited about that statement, and be filled with enthusiasm – but the reality is, on most days, I’m caught up in the day-to-day things that overrun my life, and I don’t even think about it.
I’m just a regular person, who used to work in human resources, and who now speaks on stages, writes online, and wants to help people to build careers that they love, and lives that matter.
But there-in lies the problem.
I don’t have to compete with anyone to make a difference in my work, or in someone’s life.
I just need to recognize that I CHANGE THE WORLD EVERY DAY – in some way.
And you do too.
The only question is whether we’re changing the world around us for better, or worse.
Recently, I listened to an interview with a young woman who had been rescued from sex slavery in India by International Justice Mission – an organization that I believe in, and support financially.
In the interview, she shared horrific details of what her life was like before brave and committed people physically and emotionally rescued her from the only life she’d ever known.
At the end, she made a point to not only thank those who cared about her enough to risk their lives and invest in her personally, but also those who gave money to support those people, and the mission of IJM. She said:
Because of you, my life has been changed.
I wept. So hard. And I still do when I think of that moment.
Why? Because in that moment, I realized the power that each of us has – regardless of our platform or means – to make a positive and lasting impact on others in this world. We just need to take action.
For those that work for organizations like IJM, their opportunity to make a difference seems very clear. For you and me – who work in comfortable buildings in safe cities, where we hire and fire people, balance the books, craft strategic plans, or make widgets – it seems a bit fuzzier.
But consider this. I heard a fantastic 5-minute talk this past week at the DisruptHR event in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. One of the speakers shared about how growing up, his definition of success was becoming the man in the expensive business suit, working in a golden tower in a big city.
After graduating from university, he went to work for a major financial organization, and was making great progress on the path to his dreams. He took some time off to volunteer for a mission trip, and when he returned, felt transformed. He shared with some of his colleagues how the amazing experience had caused him to rethink what he felt leadership was, and where he saw his path going in life.
After listening to his story, his boss looked at him and said:
If I walk out of my office in 3 weeks, and I see you at your desk, I’m going to ask you to leave. You’ve got better things to do in this world, and you need to go achieve those.
Even though it felt like he was being fired for doing a good job, he took her advice, and left the company.
After leaving that job, he spent some time working in a social services organization, has founded three companies, and co-founded a Think Tank in Sioux Falls that facilitates a culture of creative entrepreneurship and “giving before you get”. It’s clear that in the time since his boss cared enough to push him out of the nest, he’s had a tremendous impact on the lives of others, and in his community – all before age 32.
After the DisruptHR Sioux Falls was over, several of us stayed afterwards to have a drink, debrief, and share ideas about how to change Sioux Falls – and the world. Of course, everyone agreed that it wasn’t going to be easy, but during the course of the conversation, the young man who shared the story above reminded us that we all have the power to affect positive change. He said:
“The woman I mentioned in my talk tonight literally changed my life, because she saw something in me and believed in me. I’d probably still be working for that big company selling credit cards if she hadn’t pushed me, and encouraged me to find new opportunities to reach my potential.”
We don’t need to get intimidated by how big, or complex it may be to change our community, our organization, or our leadership in order to change the world. We just need to focus on the impact that we can have in the life of one person.
What can you do to change the world?
YOU can change the world by encouraging just one person.
YOU can change the world by being a positive leader that others want to model.
YOU can change the world by listening when someone needs to be heard.
YOU can change the world by investing in something or someone you believe in.
YOU can change the world by overcoming a challenge, so others see it’s possible.
YOU can change the world by sharing your flaws, and being successful anyway.
YOU can change the world by believing you can, and looking for opportunities every day.
Somebody in your life needs your influence. Somebody needs you to invest in him or her in some way. And the only thing you may have in common is that neither of you know it yet.
Go first. Take action. Be intentional.
I believe that you have the ability to do this. And I believe that my belief in you can make a difference.
I truly believe YOU CAN CHANGE THE WORLD!
Now, get to it.