Have you figured out yet that you cannot change the world…for the good or for the bad? If you have not, I am sorry to be the person who must give you a reality check. You cannot change the world. No one can change the world.
You might argue that some people in history have changed the world. I would rebut your argument by asking two questions:
- Did they change the world or just their corner of the world?
- Did changing their corner of the world have a ripple effect…good or bad…on others who then did the same thing?
No one can change the world. To change the world would be to change many other people and no one, not even you, can change other people.
So if you cannot change the world, what are you to do? Do you throw your hands up and quit trying?
The answer is no!
Many people look for someone to emulate and to look to for leadership; our communities, countries, and thereby the world, need positive, influential leaders. Notice I said influential leaders, not influential changers. Leadership is about influencing change not forcing change.
If you want to create change, I challenge you to be a leader people will emulate; a leader that causes a ripple effect and influences positive change in others and in the world. To become that type of leader, you must first change the things in you and your corner of the world that you want to see changed in other people and the world as a whole.
Like pebbles in a pond, the following five attributes can create ripple effects that will influence change in your corner of the world and lead others to do the same:
1. Learn all the information before passing judgement or making a decision. In my opinion, we have too many people in our world, communities, work places, or homes who are prematurely passing judgement on other people and situations before having all the information.
Have you ever noticed that a good leader, when presented with a challenging person or problem, will first ask questions to make an assessment? Only after they have made that assessment do they make a decision or pass judgement.
Being judgmental is damaging to both you and other people. It is also a waste of time and cuts you off from a variety of experiences and opportunities.
Find out another person’s story or get all the information about a situation before passing judgement.
2. Give respect. Expect respect. Respect means to hold someone in high regard for his or her personal qualities or accomplishments. It is interesting to me, that some people do not give respect to another person until that person has earned respect. Why is that? Isn’t that a little pessimistic not to mention judgmental? By doing this, are we not saying to that person, “You are not good enough; prove to me you are worthy”?
If someone you just met said to you, “You are not worthy of my time until you show me a reason I should treat you well” what would you do? Right from the start, they are showing you they are judgmental. Is that how you want someone that you have just met to perceive you? Do you not want others to hold you in high regard?
To be a leader and influence change, give respect to everyone until you have a reason to discontinue that respect and expect the same in return.
3. Show interest in others through actively listening. Developing good listening skills and being interested in others will accomplish three things: a) You will show respect b) You will be able to receive all the information the person is telling you c) You may learn something new. Active listening involves the following:
- Become aware of your body language and facial expressions; they speak volumes
- Let the person finish their point
- Get a visual picture of what the person is telling you
- Acknowledge the what the other person is saying
- Approach conversations as learning opportunities
- Stay in the moment; do not get distracted or think ahead to what you will say next
4. Random acts of kindness. Do something just because–without expecting to be acknowledged in any way. A random act of kindness is something you do for another person for no other reason than to assist them or make them smile. Simply do something nice for someone else. A random act of kindness is something you can do for someone you know or for a stranger. Examples:
- Sending someone a handwritten thank you note
- Holding the door for a stranger when they have an armload of packages
- Giving someone a flower for no reason
- Putting money in a parking meter for someone who is just pulling into the space or who is digging for change.
- Calling an acquaintance who you just learned is having a hard time
As a leader who is working to influence change, you must go the extra mile for people.
5. Maintain your integrity. Integrity is a demonstration of your core values and beliefs. Integrity comes from having good self-esteem and confidence. To be someone who others will want emulate and who influences change, you must say what you mean and you do what you say you will do.
While you cannot change the world, you can influence change in your corner of the world and cause a ripple effect that leads others to do the same.
Influence change and cause a ripple effect by not passing judgement too quickly, showing other people respect and expecting the same, being interested and actively listening to others, doing random acts of kindness, and maintaining your integrity.
Make this your best day,
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Angie R. Boecker is a specialist in managing life’s chaos. She is the author of two books, Effective Grant Writing: Submit a Stronger Application and The Secrets to Thinking on Your Feet and a blog entitled The Travel Element. As a public speaker, Angie has spoken to audiences on topics that help them manage life’s chaos.