Tuesday, December 28, 2010

What Can One Person Do?

Henry Ford said, "Whether you believe you can or you believe you can't - you are right."

I was having a great conversation with my stepfather this weekend about the problems faced by America in the present and in the future.  The questions are important for us all to consider.  What's the best way to redistribute wealth through a fair system of tax?  How do we fight terrorism?  Why do we have troops in so many foreign countries?  Why have we become a second rate manufacturer?  How do we expect the economy to survive if we keep borrowing to prop it up?  Why does man have to wage war?  My stepfather's opinions were well thought out; his frustration was obvious.  During a short lull, I asked him, "How could you channel some of your frustrated energy into a positive result?  How could you make a difference in any of these areas?"

He considered my question for a moment and said, "What difference can a single person make?"

"A single person can make extraordinary impact if they are committed to something." 

He challenged me to "name a single person who has made a difference."   I rattled off so many names and examples so quickly, he nodded his acceptance of the premise.

Two thoughts have stayed with me since this conversation -

People forget how much a difference they do make and how much of a difference they can make.

It's easy to complain; it takes commitment to be part of a solution.

It is difficult to ask yourself if you are reaching your full potential as a leader.  It requires a level of personal accountability, self discipline, and conviction that can be daunting.  But the question is necessary for you to reach your full potential as a leader.   Don't get stuck comparing yourself to other leaders.  Lead your way.  Make a difference in your world.  There is plenty to do. 

So, what difference will you make today? Your attitude and actions will impact people all around you.  People count on you and need you.  Each of us has a different set of circumstances, skills, passions, and gifts.  Will you reach your potential today to make a difference given your unique set of situations and tools?  

What can one person do?  More than I could write or that you would want to read.  Too much potential is wasted by leaders who let themselves off the hook.  It's tough to find ways to solve problems.  But how would you eat an elephant?

One spoonful at a time.

Problems and possibilities exist all around us. So go get your spoon and find your elephant.  You will definitely make a difference.

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