Recently, I was in Baudette, Minnesota – near the Canadian border and not too far from Winnipeg.
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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