I was so far north that I saw cars with amphibious tracks on them as they drove through the snow. No kidding – and one of them was a Smart Car.
While I was about to get ready for my day, I came across a VIDEO that a nonprofit called Sandy Hook Promise put together by several family members of victims of the Sandy Hook shootings. These folks have gone on a crusade and are making an incredible difference in the world. I applaud them.
Trigger warning: Here’s the video – but it could be tough to watch:
The video is powerful, and I am still trying to process it – but because of this, I started thinking: What difference are we making in the world?
Listen, maybe you haven’t gone through a gut-wrenching tragedy like Sandy Hook or Parkland, Columbine or any of these mass school shootings. Maybe you’re a mom, a teacher, a coach, a businessperson – a dad, a friend – a youth speaker – a pastor – I don’t know. Maybe you just wake up, go to work and do your thing every day – and the next day and the day after that. That’s beside the point.
It doesn’t matter what you do. My question is simply this: What difference are you making in the world to make it a better place?
You might be thinking, “Well – I really don’t have a platform to do much.” OK. Or, “Well Jeff – I’m really not in that position. Well, Jeff – I’m really focused on my family…”
Good. I understand.
I am a big believer in the “think globally, act locally” course of action. We can make a huge difference right in our own little corners of the world. Think about what you can do – right here, right now.
Maybe you are a parent. It’s important to put your family first. Let’s say you go to your child’s sports events. I think you can make a difference in the type of parent and fan you are by being supportive of everybody else’s kids too. And stop screaming at the referees if you think they made a bad call. You can choose to be objective and understand that the refs have a tough job to make calls on the spot and they are not always perfect.
But the bottom line is that we should support and applaud our refs and our coaches – and we honor the work that they are doing every single day. I think that’s making a difference in the world.
What about if you work with other people every day in your job? I think your attitude and your behavior make a difference. For those in education, you’ve got young people under your watch every single day. You are making a difference by being supportive and encouraging, knowing that your words and actions make a huge impact in the life of a child.
Everybody has an opportunity to make a difference in the world – and this means you. It doesn’t have to me a monumental thing, either. Think about your sphere of influence – your words, your actions, your attitude and your kindness – being a person of selfless service and acting with grace.
I don’t know what this looks like for you – but you don’t need to overthink the issue. When you walk into a restaurant, hold the door open for somebody. When a car stops to allow you to cross the street – wave at the driver. Say “thank you.”
When I was in Baudette, I was standing in line in a convenience store, getting an Arnold Palmer (half iced tea and half lemonade). I was the fifth person in line, so I watched the four people in front of me as they got rung up. As the cashier said, “can I help you” and “have a nice day,” not one of these people so much as said “hi” or “thank you.”
Not one of these people – grownups who should know better – said anything.
If we’re looking to make a difference in the world, my friends, it’s sometimes a simple nod, a smile, a “thank you” or “have a great day.” That’s it.
These simple gestures have a ripple effect – radiating outward from you and into the lives of others.
Now go out there and make a difference.
This blog post has been adapted from an upcoming episode of Jeff’s podcast, Mental Health and Motivation: The Unlikely Life Coach. Click HERE to subscribe.
To find out more about The Jeff Yalden Foundation, go HERE.
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“What’s wrong is always available, but so it what’s right – and if we focus on what’s right, we’re going to find more of it.” – Jake BallentineThe BOOM Podcast is an opportunity for author Jeff Yalden to drill down on the principles in his book, BOOM! One Word to Instantly Inspire Action, Deliver Rewards, and Positively Affect Your Life Every Day, while featuring folks from all walks of life who have successfully brought the BOOM into their lives. In Episode 4, Jeff welcomes national award-winning motivational speaker, musician and author Jake Ballentine to the show. Jake spoke to Jeff from Idaho, where he and his wife were spending time with her family after the devastating loss of her father, a man Ballentine treasured not only as father-in-law, but also as a strong mentor. From Los Angeles, Ballentine was a contributing author to Jack Canfield’s Living the Success Principles. He is the host of the Focus on the Good podcast and the author of Your Number One Goal. He has reached more than a quarter of a million people over the past five years with his unique motivational presentations, which include his spoken positive messages and music. Not bad for a guy who was considered learning disabled and didn’t read a book until he was 18. Ballentine says Your Number One Goal is a step-by-step guide to reach any goal of any size, but before getting into the meat-and-potatoes of the book, he started with a story. “There was one point in my life that I was a depressed motivational speaker,” he said, adding that most people would look at him or Yalden and automatically assume that they have got everything figured out. Ballentine’s business was going well, but he said his life was a mess because he simply wasn’t taking care of himself. He was 26 and tipped the scales at 280 pounds. “I was in terrible condition and was on what I call the window diet: Everything I ate came from my car window,” he said. “I was just in this horrible place, and my mindset was in negativity – and it really all stemmed from the way that I treated my body.” He knew he couldn’t sustain a lifestyle like that, but what really kicked him into gear was when he and his wife were told that they couldn’t have children. “There was a time where I just got so depressed about this because it was something that we always wanted,” he said. It wasn’t long before Ballentine had his Eureka! moment. “I realized I hadn’t done everything I could. Even though I kept thinking I had done everything – I had seen the doctors – done the things they told me to do – but I hadn’t changed my health. I hadn’t changed my whole life.” One of the principles Yalden lays out in BOOM is that life doesn’t happen to us. Life happens for us. “26 years old and being told that, because of your physical condition, you can’t have kids – is not a good place to be,” Ballentine said This event was the catalyst for change. Ballentine said he suddenly had a why that was so strong that he could push past any excuse. He transformed his life, his health and fitness – and dropped 60 pounds. Eight weeks ago, he and his wife had their first child, Jacob Oliver Ballentine, Jr. “I have learned some things that can help anyone reach any goal of any size – about how to find that motivation – how to be able to push past any excuse – and how to make a step-by-step plan and take action to make it happen. I put it all in the book.” In this episode of The BOOM Podcast, Ballentine and Yalden run the gamut – from how to get motivated and stay motivated – and starting with the end in mind. They discuss the value of breaking goals down into manageable chunks. They talk about the value of purpose – and the power of why. “You’ve got to figure out where you want to be a year from now – five years from now – and then narrow that down to where [you] want to be in five years to what [you] need to accomplish in a year – the next six months – the next eight weeks – and down to what [you] have to do today,” said Ballentine. To Ballentine – everything must point to a person’s North Star – their vision for the future – while paying attention not to neglect the smaller steps along the path. Yalden said this was another way of saying that people need to figure out how to drop the BOOM in their lives. Ballentine said that, to him, family is everything – and finding balance is key. “I think really the biggest challenge comes down to balance – and I think when any change comes in your life – you have got to figure out the new balance and what is the new normal – how you balance things – and it comes down to figuring out the priorities,” he said. Your Number One Goal walks you through three seemingly basic but ultimately very important questions: What do I want? Why do I want it? How am I going to get there? “Those are the three keys to success. You have to know those three things. You’ve got to know what you want, or else you are not going to get there.” Ballentine also explains what he calls “smart goals,” and warns against vague or half-formed goals. For him, a smart goal need to be MEASURABLE, ATTAINABLE, RELEVANT and TIME-BASED. This episode of The BOOM podcast is chock-full of actionable content. Yalden and Ballentine discuss the necessity of mentors, the magic of asking for help and the inestimable value of continuing education and personal development. Ballentine had this to say about constant learning: “There is not a day that goes by that I am not listening to iTunes/podcasts/Audible books. It’s constant. I consume information constantly. I’ve learned more through these earbuds than I did in the whole four years of college,” he said. The point is – there is so much knowledge out there – and it’s available to everybody – in any format you choose. Yalden said this is part of the BOOM for everybody. “You can make excuses that college is too much money or education takes too long – but education is every single day,” he said. For more about Jake Ballentine, go HERE Click HERE to grab a free copy of Your Number One Goal. To subscribe, listen to, or explore to The BOOM Podcast, visit HERE. Get your copy of BOOM! One Word to Instantly Inspire Action, Deliver Rewards, and Positively Affect Your Life Every Day. Find out everything about Jeff Yalden HERE. JOIN the BOOM Nation Facebook Community.
- Build Relationships/Find a Mentor
- Overcome Fear
- Be Persistent