Like a lot of people I live by my calendar. Beeps and dings go off regularly to remind me to go to a meeting, make a phone call, feed the meter or pick up my kid. These reminders are necessary and appreciated. They help make my life work.

In a rush of competing deadlines and overlapping projects I have gotten into a mode of no-nonsense tunnel vision that caused me to miss several important dings, so I am writing them down as a permenant reminder.

  • At the culminating event for a three-year project every one of my teams publicly thanked me and credited me with being a major driver of their success. Who knew?
  • The program officer that funds our work said in her remarks that she uses our projects as examples of what can be accomplished and considers us the experts in the feild. And my boss’s boss was in the room. That was something. 
  • Near the end of the all day event my boss made a little speech about my work and I was given a standing ovation.
  • At a different workshop I had a woman said that she agreed to be on a panel for me because she can’t say no to me after all I have done for her. I was flabbergasted. 
  • And then today another woman told me she took her position because of me. And that she didn’t take a better offer recently because I help her and give her hope that change is possible.

I had no idea I had such an impact on any of these folks. It wasn’t until the conversation today that I even put it together heard the “DING!”. That’s why I got into this kind of work in the first place, because catalyzing change is addictive. Individuals, groups, organizations – it’s amazing what can happen when someone understands power is not just positional. 

The Margaret Mead quote about a few dedicated citizens being able to change the world may be overused, but personal power really is the key to positive change. Someone might need new skills, or more information, or a spark of inspiration to see their potential power. Sometimes you need someone to point out that you have done, or are doing, and just hesitate to call it the power that it is.

I am grateful to be reminded this is not just a hamster wheel of endless tasks.  And should I get on that wheel again readers are encouraged to tell me to get over myself, or give me a good smack on the back of the head. Whichever makes the louder “DING!”