Scene 1: Years ago I interviewed a man named Rahelio in Sedona, Arizona. We climbed the red rocks to overlook a valley for sunset. He played flute. I took pictures, and we talked a little bit about the work he did as a spiritual guide. He said, “Don’t work against what you hate. Work for what you love.”
Scene 2: Marcus Buckingham’s book, Now, Discover Your Strengths points out that often we spend time trying to correct our weaknesses rather than building on our strengths. With limited hours in the day, he suggests we could go farther by focusing on what we are good at.
Scene 3: For my first book I interviewed Flora Tsukayama, who spent years volunteering in the high school both my kids attended. She offers a warm and friendly adult presence in a hall that used to be known for it’s bullying, and it completely shifted the culture and experience in that part of the school.
I shared a part of Flora’s story on Facebook yesterday and it became a mini-viral episode. Within 24-hours it was shared 250 times and liked by more than 1,000. Students from 15 years ago saw the post and commented on how much her daily greetings meant to them. “She was the best part of my high school.” “Flora made me smile even on my toughest days.” “Flora for president!”
When I first asked Flora if I could interview her, she modestly said, “Oh…I haven’t done anything special.” But she saw a simple need and she responded. She created ripples that continue to expand today.
I’m not one to ignore the problems of the world. We have plenty. But when we only focus on our problems, it can become corrosive. What if we spent time examining the things that worked? What if we looked to people like Flora as models of what is good in the world, and used that as a template for moving forward?
You don’t need special tools. You don’t need secret knowledge. Just aim high and show up. Every day.
How will you impact the world today?