Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Where is your influence?

It is easy to think of one's self as isolated and powerless to influence change. We watch television and the internet to see high profile folks endorsing this or influencing that We may even wish we had that power to influence change, to make a difference.

A rock star holds a benefit concert and raise enough money to change the lives of a multitude of homeless or destitute folks. A major corporation donates enough money to provide limbs for disabled veterans. A national charity holds a marathon to raise money for medical research. All are good works and benefit many who need help.

But what about you or me? Yes, we can participate in their events with donations of money or time or effort. And that is important. But what more can one do?

We are each connected to others, either narrowly or widely. And we can choose to widen that circle of influence if we want. Where are you connected?

Draw a circle in the center of a page. That is you. Now, draw a line out from you to anyone or anything you have had contact with in the last day, week, month, year. Include individuals, groups, businesses, professionals. I'm guessing you could nearly fill the page! Now for each one determine how you made contact - face to face, phone, mail, internet, etc.

You are probably thinking that mere contact doesn't give you any influence. Let's look at that.

A pebble contacts the water. It influences the water to ripple. The bigger the stone the bigger the wave produced. But even a grain of sand dropped into the water moves the water out to sink to the bottom. So every contact changes something, big or small. There is your infuence.

You know how you can "make waves" in someone's life. It can be good or not. More choices. But you DO have influence. The more contact you make the greater you influence. You visit your dentist and talk about a project you are involved in. She may express interest. You can then educate or enlist help with the project. The same thing happens anytime you interact with others. So ;you can choose to influence them toward choices that make a positive impact in the world - large or small. Maybe your dentist would donate toothbrushes for care package to deployed military personnel. Or you favorite restaurant might donate a gift certificate for a charity auction.

Yes, you have influence. You can choose to use it to make the world better. Check out some of the thins on the "to-do list" below and consider what you might do with your influence. Share in the comments what you've done and any other suggestions you have for others.

Today's daily dozen to-do list choices.
  • Have a group fill baskets of kindness with things like stationery, stamps, playing cards, a puzzle or game, a magazine, fresh flower, a book,  a mug, cookies or other treat and a greeting card signed by the members for a shut-in or elderly person on their own. 
  • Create handout fliers promoting a fund-raising event or charity and distribute to businesses and/or neighbors in your circle of influence.
  • Organize a group of friends and family to go out and perform acts of kindness, such as cleaning up a schoolyard or park; visiting a nursing home to provide conversation and oompany to residents; teaching at an adult literacy center, etc.
  • Hold a read-a-thon for a worthy ause. Fin sponsors from the staf who will pay moey per book read and donate the proceeds to a charity such as child abuse causes.
  • Talk to your family/friends about recycling, why it is important, how they can recycle more items, etc
  • Ask the people you know to help you collect hygiene products to donate to homeless shelters and food pantries. 
  • Work with a charity to help sell ads to business and professionals you have contact with to incude in that charity/s event program .
  • Participate in a school's career day.
  • Organize a bake sale for a cause you believe in.
  • Post links on social media for organizations that make a positive difference.
  • Write and hand out thank you notes to service people that are often ignored - janitors, busboys, receptionists, secretaries, etc
  • Form a volunteer committee to visit nursing homes or senior centers with recordings of songs that bring back memories, such as Mitch Miller, Benny Goodman, and Glenn Miller.


  1. Lovely! And a good reminder I needed today. Thanks, Lucinda!

  2. We have more influence than we recognize sometimes. We can make a positive difference in so many big and small ways. It is amazing how many people we connect with these days, even off-line. As a writer you have LOTS of influence. Keep up the good work.