Make the World a Better Place
Can One Person Really Make A Difference?
In a word- Yes!
One solitary person can make a world of difference. The power of one is undeniable. Looking at history shows us a long list of men and women who single-handedly launched a movement. They made a change or took a stand in a way that made a difference that we feel today.
In this day and age of social media, blogging, Youtube, and much more, one person’s voice can literally change the world. As a matter of fact, it has never been easier to create a platform to share your unique voice, start a movement, and rally others behind you.
Here are some influencers who single-handedly changed their world:
Joan of Arc
Joan of Arc, in French Jeanne d’Arc or Jehanne, nicknamed “The Maid of Orléans”. She is considered a heroine of France for her role during the Lancastrian phase of the Hundred Years’ War and was canonized as a Roman Catholic saint. She helped lead France to its independence from English conquest.
Rosa Louise McCauley Parks was an American activist in the civil rights movement. She is best known for her crucial role in the Montgomery bus boycott. The United States Congress has called her “the first lady of civil rights” and “the mother of the freedom movement”. She took a stand against segregation and made her impact on the civil rights movement when she refused to give up her seat on a Montgomery, Alabama bus.
Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela was a South African anti-apartheid revolutionary, political leader, and philanthropist. Served as President of South Africa from 1994 to 1999. He was the country’s first black head of state and the first elected in a fully representative democratic election. He was an unforgettable leader in the movement to end Apartheid in South Africa.
Diana, Princess of Wales, was a member of the British royal family. She was the first wife of Charles, Prince of Wales, and the mother of Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, and Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex. She helped to destigmatize diseases like AIDS and became an influential force as a humanitarian.
She is a Pakistani activist for girls’ right to receive an education. Malala Yousafzai rebelled against the Taliban as a young girl in Pakistan and demanded that girls be allowed to receive an education. For her activism, she was shot in the head by a Taliban gunman in 2012. But she survived and went on to receive the Nobel Peace Prize. Malala Yousafzai’s book, “I Am Malala,” became an international bestseller.
Chances are if you could speak to each of these difference-makers you’d discover some things in common. Likely, none of them thought of themselves as “unique” or “out of the ordinary” when they were first called to the causes that they are known for. They might tell you that they didn’t intend to make such a difference in the beginning. Or that they never felt what they did was anything anyone else wouldn’t do given the same options. They would be humble and passionate about their unique areas of interest and would share that they simply wanted to do their part to help.
When one person takes a stand and steps out in faith, frustration, or whatever it is that motivates them, they don’t know whether they will be successful. It isn’t about betting on a sure thing. They simply do the next necessary thing, and the path unfolds before them. The resources they need, the connections, and the story all come together as they walk things through. What started with one person’s actions becomes a community or tribe working together for the same cause.
Never doubt the ability of one person to make a difference.
The difference you make may go totally unnoticed, or it can be front and center on the news. Either way, don’t deny yourself – or the community you can create – the benefit of your impact. Take a leap and step out onto the path towards making your impact.
Stop Trying to Fix the World – Make A Difference One Person and One Act at A Time
Ever hear the term “quality over quantity”?
This idiom expresses the belief that it is better to have a single, high-quality experience than to have a great number of average experiences. Or that it is better to have one thing that is amazing, instead of multiple things that are mediocre. Would you agree?
Using this mindset, it is easy to imagine making an impact that is focused on quality rather than quantity. Helping and making a difference one person and one act at a time, rather than trying to fix the whole world.
You can easily do this by:
Mentoring a local mentee
Mentoring is an act of teaching your skills and sharing your resources with someone up and coming in your field of interest or career. You can mentor a college student for a semester, a new mother for her child’s first year, or a brand-new apprentice at your office.
Volunteering at a local nonprofit
Instead of becoming part of the web of services stemming from a nation-wide nonprofit, consider lending your expertise and time to a local organization where the hands and feet are all in one location. You may have a bigger and better impact on decision-makers. Plus your time and money will likely go directly to the community you are serving.
Financially supporting a local nonprofit
Like volunteering, your financial support is converted easily to the local setting. You may have a voice about where your money goes and what area of the budget you want to support. You may be able to make a direct donation of goods or services. Ensure your passion is represented and make an impact.
Participating in an annual fundraiser
Many organizations or chapters of nonprofits hold annual fundraising events. You can get behind one event and pour your energy and efforts into one “big bang” of a moment. This keeps you from burning out and makes it possible for you to give quality time instead of large quantities of it.
High quality stands out in areas like wine, chocolate, and cheese. Small doses of a great thing far outweigh large doses of an average thing. Condense your focus, and offer your quality impact in a small area, and be blessed in the process.
Sometimes sticking close to home is the best way to make an impact. There are needs right in your own backyard that you can pour into and serve directly with quality rather than watered-down in great quantity.
You Don’t Have to Make A Big Impact to Make A Difference
Everyone loves a grand gesture. On Social Media platforms, GoFundMe drives are shared that can raise insane amounts of money in a short amount of time. We’ve all seen reality shows that highlight men and women making a difference and reward them in grand style. There is no doubt that it’s fun and amazing to be generous on a large scale – but that isn’t the only way to make an impact.
You don’t have to make a big impact to make a difference. You don’t have to go broke giving or occupy the spotlight. To do small things is valuable and vital in every way. The ability to make some progress filling a need, or to spend small bits of your time all matter. No matter who you are or what your limitations might be: you can affect change. Be part of a solution, and do your part for a cause that matters to you.
Let’s look at some practical ways you can use your time to make a difference:
- Walk dogs at a shelter
- Rock babies in the NICU at the hospital
- Work for a candidate whose platform you believe in during campaign season
- Provide free services for the elderly
- Donate Blood. I pint of blood can save up to 3 lives.
- Feed stray animals
- Donate your shoes that you are no longer using (but can still be used) in orphanages
- Blog about social issues which needs attention and share it on social media
- Grow out your hair and donate to an organization which makes wigs for cancer-stricken kids
Here are some small ways to invest in making a difference:
- Make small monthly contributions to a homeless shelter
- Buy food for an animal rescue program
- Pledge a missionary’s overseas journey
- Support agencies that send items to troops
- Donate books to schools
These are some great ways to use your talents in a small way:
- Tutor students and the community college
- Coach a sports team
- Teach a skill to elderly residents at a skilled nursing facility
- Volunteer your talent at the local community center
- Got some talent? Is it singing? Or dancing? Or playing the lute? Teach a few kids for free.
- Visit the old-age home in your locality and spend an hour reading out books to the elders.
- Babysit to help out a single-parent. Tell him/her to go have some “me-time.”
- Bake some cookies and donate them to an orphanage.
Small investments in time, money, or talent are easy and effective. It doesn’t take much to leave your mark and lighten the load for a cause or need that is out there. Be assured that not everyone can make large donations of time, money, and energy. Most organizations rely on people who have a wide variety of giving options. Even if your time and resources are limited, they are still in high demand.
Even when you are giving to your family, it isn’t always about quantity. It’s about the quality of your investment with them. Something as small as including a note in your child’s lunch can make a positive impact on them. A voicemail on your spouse’s phone can brighten their day. Sending a card to a dear friend for no reason could mean more than you may know.
Challenge yourself to do one small thing each day this week to make an impact, and witness how much reaction you get compared to your effort. Be someone who cares, take interest in those around you, and notice the impact you have.
Making A Difference in Your Own Circle of Influence
Nowadays, if you use any form of social media, you are inundated with ways to make a difference. From emotional videos highlighting worldwide causes to the fundraising needs of nationally known organizations, you likely have access to unlimited ways to make a difference for people you may never know. Yet, you can also have a direct impact on your own circle of family, friends, acquaintances, church, etc.
Your circle of influence is directly tied to the people you see and engage with on a regular basis. These are the people you genuinely care about and have an investment in. There is a reciprocity that comes from supporting one another, and being there through thick and thin. You are never left wondering if you are truly making an impact on them or not because the answer is self-evident.
Some people love seeing the direct results of their investment of time, money, and talents. It is far easier for them to work one on one or directly with a person, or a specific agency or organization. They feel a sense of belonging and satisfaction by being a part of the solution for someone or something that they care about.
Where can you make a difference in your sphere of influence?
Starting in your own home, you can make a difference with your children and spouse. Teaching a talent, providing encouragement, and creating a safe place to be is a monumental way to make a difference.
Your community needs you. No matter what your passion is, there is a way to connect it with a need in your community and make an impact. Pay attention to the pleas for assistance and general needs of your hometown, and plug into the systems they have for providing support. If you see a need that isn’t being filled, consider taking steps to organize a way to close that gap and serve your community.
Are you a business owner? Do you work for a company? Either way, you can make a big impact in the marketplace. Simply acting as a stable and eager-to-serve teammate can set you apart in a work environment. Many career-minded people enjoy participating in service clubs to engage and make a difference while at work.
If you attend a church, there are unlimited ways to contribute time, talent, and resources. From helping in the nursery to leading a home group, there are as many ways to make a difference as you can imagine.
Whether your mindset is focused on your home, community, or business, you can make a difference within your personal sphere of influence in any number of ways. Being able to personally witness the impact you have on those around you have can be incredibly rewarding and encourage you to keep on making a difference.
Start Making A Difference at Home
“If you want to bring happiness to the world, go home and love your family”- Mother Teresa
The easiest place in the world to make a difference is in your own home. What better place to influence the people who mean the most to you in ways that have the most direct impact? Your influence in your own home not only makes an impact, it literally shapes the future.
The seemingly insignificant actions you may take for granted can be some of the most important acts of kindness and love there are.
Consider these small acts you may feel are insignificant but are actually vital:
- Making meals
- Sharing conversations at the dinner table
- Helping with homework
- Spending time at home with your children
- Hosting your children’s friends in your home
- Doing chores with your kids
- Having a family game night
These things may seem routine – and that’s a good thing – but it’s important to realize that not all families engage in this way on their own. Depending on how you were brought up, these concepts may feel either normal or foreign.
Make A Difference with Your Love Language
Every one of your family members has a love language: a way that they prefer to give and receive love. Gary Chapman is the author of the 5 Love Languages which highlights his philosophies and the list of love preferences: receiving gifts, words of affirmation, quality time, acts of service, and physical touch.
These expressions of love are directly tied to our esteem and personal satisfaction in the relationships that mean the most to us.
Determining your own love language makes it possible for you to share how you enjoy being loved, and knowing the language of your loved ones is an excellent way to make a difference in your home.
Here are some fun tips for pouring into your family through their love language:
Leave your child’s favorite snack-sized candy on their pillowcase as a quiet reminder you are thinking of them.
Words of affirmation
At family mealtime, ask your family what they loved about their day and verbally reward them with compliments for their contributions to school, work, and their community.
Have a date night with your spouse on a regular basis. Ban electronics and engage in meaningful conversations to use the time to reconnect with each other and rejuvenate your marriage.
Acts of service
Help your child prepare for their busy day by placing their backpack and any sports gear or miscellaneous items next to the front door to allow for an easy and effortless time in the morning.
Sit side-by-side with your spouse during television time or another downtime. Hold hands, or simply rest your hand on their leg. Give hugs and touch your family member on the shoulder when speaking to them.
Just as airlines teach us to put the oxygen mask on our own faces before helping our family, we should put effort into making a difference in our homes before branching out too far and becoming stretched too thin. Celebrate your family, and take the time to see the ways you are making a difference for them.
Yes, You Can Make A Difference at Work
Fitting in at work is an important goal for anyone who wants to enjoy their time spent away from their family, earning income. There are protocols and standard operating procedures that have been created specifically to promote teamwork and efficiency. Your goal may be to get in and get along without drawing much attention to yourself, but your workplace is an excellent place to make an impact and a difference.
We all have unique ways of expressing our personality traits. Some of us are intellectually focused and prefer contemplating possibilities, some of us are “doers” who jump right into the action, and some love being a part of a team working towards a goal. Some of us love to bake treats and/or tend to share space, which can help close the gap between on- and off-duty comforts in the workplace. We all matter, and we can all make an impact.
Management can be a difficult element of workplace culture. Sometimes, staff members don’t realize the pressures facing management that demand successful outcomes. These pressures are magnified when working with unhappy or inefficient staff, who may be feeling burned out or experiencing personality conflicts that make them difficult to motivate or manage. Actively trying to be part of the solution when your colleagues clash is a simple and highly effective way to stand out in the workplace.
Here are the three P’s for making a difference at work:
Your personality is an excellent tool to use at work. Having a great attitude is worth so much to those around you. Studies show that to be promoted and be an asset in the company, the easiest way is to have a consistent mood. Choosing to leave your worries at the door and putting your focus on your work environment can make a huge impact at work.
Staying on task and being a meaningful contributor to your office is a major way to make an impact. Don’t be afraid to initiate changes or suggest improvements. Make a difference by being supportive of your team members, colleagues, customers, etc.
Far and away, the highest accolades in the workplace go to the staff who are dependable. Being emotionally and mentally present, are cornerstones of a good work ethic. If you want to effortlessly be a contributor to your workplace, show up on time and focus on your work.
Making a difference at work begins with personality, performance, and presence. From there, things only get better. Infuse your personal style into your workplace and engage your co-workers and customers with your unique personality and character.