Watching the Perseid meteor showers or stargazing on a clear, dark night reminds me that even though I’m just one person, I’m connected to something so much bigger than I can possibly imagine. So connected, yet so tiny. How is it possible for one person to make a difference in the world?
Simply by the nature of being here, each one of us makes an impact. Every big or little connection is an opportunity to raise the energetic connection in the world. The ripple effect is larger than you’ll ever know.
As I'm writing this blog, Hurricane Harvey has displaced over a million people, and the numbers are climbing. 5.6 million acres of land in the United States has burned so far this year. Hurricane Irma is ripping through right behind Harvey, destroying everything in her path. Not to mention international earthquakes and other crises. Understandably, world events are triggering PTSD for many people.
Can one person's help really make a difference? Yes! Wherever you are, whatever you do, however big or small, your contribution matters. When you help with your time, talent, donations or simply a smile to someone who can use one, you're influencing the world in a positive way.
The Dalai Lama summed it up perfectly: “If you think you are too small to make a difference, try sleeping with a mosquito.”
One rainy day years ago, I was on the edge of a mom meltdown. It was raining hard, the kids were crying and tired. I couldn't get the stroller folded up for the life of me. Out of nowhere, a woman showed up and saved the day. She smiled and said "been there, done that." She made my day! Simple human kindnesses really do matter.
There's a powerful cascading effect that happens when you thank the stressed out cashier who helped the cranky shopper in front of you. Hold the door for the person behind you. Download the Random Acts of Kindness printable that's on this page, and surprise someone with an uplifting message. Show up with freshly baked cookies for a friend, for no reason at all. Random acts of kindness lift everyone's energy.
World events clamor for our attention. People everywhere feel overwhelmed. Every day, we’re barraged with endless news stories of hatred and anger, bullying, natural disasters, racism, crime and more. It’s no wonder that people are discouraged. One person at a time, one deed at a time, we all make a difference in small ways that add up.
You CAN make a big difference by thinking about not only the causes that matter most to you, but the way you’d like to get involved. Nobody has enough money to save the world. Stop feeling guilty if you don’t have money to donate. If you choose to, by all means, give to reputable organizations by checking with Charity Navigator. Matching funds may be available through your employer to make your contributions go further.
We need a lot more than money to make positive changes! Maybe you want to volunteer, but you're not sure where. Think about your passions. Volunteer Match is a terrific resource to find an organization to fit your interests and availability. Some require specific training, travel, and/or background checks.
There are many ways to get involved with social change. Ending domestic violence, human trafficking and bullying. Protecting our food and natural resources, animal rescue, training service dogs. Getting involved in grassroots organization with a mission that calls to you. Whether through your career, or as an advocate or volunteer, connect to what calls you. I'd love to know what appeals to you.
Indirect ways of helping are just as crucial. I know someone who watches a friend’s children so she can volunteer. Taking care of someone’s home and pets may allow someone to travel to help rebuild homes.
Other people make the world a more beautiful place, one flower at a time. Plant flowers and herbs in your own yard, or in a community garden. Grow vegetables, and share the bounty. Arts organizations can use many kinds of help, and you don’t need to be an artist or musician to get involved.
My cousin juggles for fun with her group every day in Bryant Park in New York City. People light up with smiles as they walk by. When she's not doing that, she rides a unicycle around for fun. Her fun is contagious, bringing happiness to strangers going by. What a powerful mood changer!
American Red Cross - hurricane and wildfire relief
Houston Food Bank - Hurricane Harvey relief efforts
FEMA - Hurricane Harvey relief needs, and more
NJ Coalition to End Domestic Violence - 30 NJ organizations
Mallory's Army - fight bullying, be kindness
CASA - Court Appointed Special Advocates for Children
Polaris Project -eradicate modern day slavery and human trafficking
Whether it’s in your everyday dealings with people, through your career, volunteering or hobbies, you have the opportunity to touch and change lives. We need people not only to help with the tough subjects, but also to remind us to have fun and appreciate beauty. Go, make a difference. It’s easier than you might think to change the world, beginning with you!
Denise Fountain is a Life Transitions Specialist and Certified Professional Coach. She works with women going through transitions to rediscover themselves and create lives that are happy, healthy and whole again. Together with her clients, she explores the connection between stress, health and happiness, and guides her clients to move forward to make lasting and sustainable changes. She is passionate about helping women live their best lives. Sign up for updates while you’re on this site! Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more about how Denise can partner with you to create the life you dream of.