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Here is an excerpt from Lee’s latest book, Leadership Matters. It contains 31 daily insights to inspire extraordinary results.

day 14: Impact

Contrary to the lyrics from a classic rock song, one is not the loneliest number. But it is the most important number!

Your thoughts, words, and actions are like individual notes that work in concert to create the power of one person, you, to make a difference.

You can harness your full personal impact by taking just one step:

  • Catch one negative thought and turn it into a positive one;
  • Think of one thing for which you are grateful at the beginning of each day;
  • Say one “Fantastic!” when a colleague asks how you are doing;
  • Assume the best in one upcoming challenging interaction;
  • Keep on moving one step at a time when you experience adversity;
  • Help one colleague during a time when you need help.

Many people used to think that one vote in an election couldn’t really make a difference. Well, past presidential elections that have been decided by razor-thin margins prove them wrong. A single act does make a difference … it creates a ripple effect that can be felt many miles and people away. And as one of my friends pointed out recently, a single positive act creates a powerful internal ripple effect within us – one of good feelings and service to others.

Susan Komen’s life provides a current day example of the power of one. When Susan was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1978, little was known about the disease and it was rarely discussed in public. Before her death at age 36, Susan asked her sister Nancy to do everything she could to bring an end to breast cancer. Although Nancy wasn’t sure that she alone could accomplish this goal, she kept her promise. In 1982, Nancy established the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation with $200 and a shoebox full of names.

In 1983, the first Susan G. Komen “Race for the Cure” was held. It attracted 800 runners and raised several hundred thousand dollars. As of this print, 1.6 million runners participate in more than 140 locations globally for breast cancer research, education, screening and treatment. As a result, the Foundation has invested more than $1.9 billion since its inception to eradicate breast cancer. All this good for the world started with one request to one person who took one action.

All great things start as one small thing. So, take one small step out … and make a positive impact today!

Action Questions:

1. What one small action can I take today to create a positive impact for someone who is important to me?

2. What one small action can I take today to create a positive impact for my team?

“Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Willing is not enough; we must do.”
– Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Copyright © 2012 by Lee J. Colan and The L Group, Inc.