How to Change the World

There is an awful lot going on in our world today. In the rare times that I turn on the news anymore, it feels like a daunting task when I begin to think of what I could do to bring any positive change at all. It can be easy to slip into despair or, as I like to call it, “learned helplessness” - and yet there is still some incredible opportunities that you and I have to have a positive impact on the world around us.

So, here’s some light reading for you this week. Here’s how you can change the world:

Go Home: Lead and Love Your Family Well

Go Out of Your Way: Encourage & Invest in One Person Every Day

Go Make a Difference: Always Leave People, Places, and the Planet Better Than How You Found It

Go Above & Beyond: Be Willing to Go the Second Mile for Others

Go Home: Lead & Love Your Family Well

I was in South Dakota the day that President Obama was elected president. The majority of the guys I was hunting with may or may not have voted for him. :) We sat around the television that night and one of the guys spoke up and said, “Regardless of who is President, it doesn’t change the fact that I have responsibility to lead my family well. No matter what policies change or who is sitting in the Oval Office, I am going to make sure that I continue to lead my family exceptionally well.”

That has stuck with me ever since. A few months ago, I was with the same group of guys sitting around the same television in SD. When President Donald Trump was given the vote, he stood up and said the same thing. :)

Don’t lose sight of the reality that one of your greatest responsibilities - and one of your greatest opportunities to change the world - is by loving and leading your family well.

Maybe you look at your relationships at home and they are not as healthy as you wish they were. You may think it’s too late to start - it’s not. There is a chinese proverbs that says the best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is today. Invest in your family. Create a vision for the type of relationship you want to have with your spouse, your kids, or whoever it is you come home to. What do you want to be able to say about those relationships in the end? Begin today to live and lead in such a way that this vision might become a reality.

Go Out of Your Way: Encourage & Invest in One Person Every Day

Think for a moment. What would it mean to you if someone went out of their way to invest in your life? What would be meaningful to you? What if someone intentionally set out to encourage you or show appreciation for who you are or something that you have done?

Look around you right now. The people that you do life with every day at work - they are searching for the same thing. We often don’t offer encouragement or take the time to invest in others because no one has ever done that for us.

Do you want to change the world? Be the person that you wish other people would be to you. Stop waiting around for other people to invest in you. Be the catalyst in your facility and in your department for this level of relationship. It’s contagious!

If you were to commit to investing in and encouraging just one person a day - that would mean setting aside as little as 3 minutes every day to be intentional about building someone else up - think of the impact that we could have. There are about 200 people that read the Notes for the Journey blog every week. If each one of us committed to this for one year, we would be able to impact 73,000 people! How incredible would that be? Think of the ripple effect that would be created out of this.

If you want to change the world, go out of your way once a day to invest and encourage someone else. That might look like being willing to listen. It could be recognizing something positive that they have done and making the effort to encourage them and show appreciation. Here’s some great things to look for:

  • Have they impacted others (yourself, co-workers, their department, Simmons, community, etc.) positively recently?

  • Have they lived out Simmons’ Values recently?

  • Did you see them balancing results and relationships well?

  • Can you compliment them on their kids or family?

  • Did they accomplish something outside of work (college class, competition, etc.)?

Give the people around you a reason to have an “Atta-Boy” or “Atta-Girl” file to put the cards or notes from you and others in that they can come back to when they need to be encouraged. Don’t wait around another day. Be the co-worker and friend that you want others to be to you. It may be gradual, but over time, a little effort can change the world.

As I sit down and write, I have to ask myself, “Self, why did you put GO in front of every statement?” As I think about it more, if you want to change the world, it requires action. But action for the sake of action is not always positive, nor beneficial. Action requires us to determine motives. To do a pulse check and understand where my heart is at. Am I “going” after my own personal benefit, or am I truly seeking to positively impact others? As you begin to apply this to your own life, I encourage you to apply it to your prayer life as well.

Go Make a Difference: Always Leave People, Places, and the Planet Better Than How You Found It

This was a value that was instilled in me early on in my parents house. Whether we were borrowing something, staying at someone’s house, or out camping in Wyoming - we were always challenges to leave it better than how we found it.

I’ve been on the other end when the opposite took place. I let a friend borrow my compound bow one year. He brought it back with two busted cams and the string just wrapped around the bow like spaghetti on a fork. No offer to fix it, just said it broke when he shot and he didn’t need it anymore. Needless to say, when he came by a few weeks later and asked to borrow my car, that was a big fat negative.

I believe that one extremely tangible way that you and I can make a difference in our world is leaving people, places and the planet better than how we found it. When it comes to the planet, you may not have much of planet earth that you can call your own. But whether it's your home or how your work affects your environment, I challenge you to do everything you can to leave it better than when you found it.

When it comes to people and places, I again think of our homes and our workplace. If you were to be honest and do an assessment of whether or not the people in your life are better for you having been in their life up until this point, how would you answer? Better yet, what if you asked those people!

For some of you, your office or facility is absolutely a better place because you are there. You have invested your skills and energy into processes that have made unbelievable improvements in our efficiency and bottom line.

Even more so, some of you have chosen to come to work and be culture changers! Through your attitude, work-ethic, and desire to live our Simmons’ Values, you are seen as a leader by those around you, regardless of if you have someone who reports to you. Your influence is felt by the way that you live and lead, and the excellence and tenacity with which you bring to whatever it is before you.

If that can’t be said about you, what’s keeping you from being this type of person? Maybe there is something going on that you would like to talk to a chaplain about. Please know that we want to come alongside you. My hope is that you would be able to re-enter your vocation at Simmons and see it as purposeful and something that adds meaning to your life - not just a paycheck. To see your job as an opportunity to give the best of yourself, so that if there comes a day that you move on (such as retirement), that those you are leaving behind would be better off because you invested part of your life in them and in this place.

Go Above and Beyond: Be Willing to Go the Second Mile for Others

There is so much that is coming to mind for me as I type today. I probably should write a book, not just because tens of people would buy it, but it is incredibly beneficial for me as I process and write. As I think about this final encouragement, again, I am brought back to my childhood. I was given the chance to mow someone’s yard for the summer, I think he was a chiropractor (I don’t know why I told you that. It’s not that significant to the story. I might as well tell you that his wife was absolutely obsessed with essential oils and every time we were over there she tried to give us oils for every cough, ache, name it. Ok, get back on track.). Dad had dropped me off with his mower and came back when I called him after I finished. He walked up the driveway and he might as well had “WARNING: TEACHABLE MOMENT AHEAD!” written on his forehead. He has a lot of real estate up there - he's bald as a cue ball. I can say that, because I know that is in my future too...

He looked at my efforts and told me that I had accomplished everything Mr. Chiropractor had asked me to do. He asked me to walk the yard with him and said, “If you were to go the extra mile for this couple, what could you have done?” There were weeds that I could have pulled beside the bushes, an edger in the shed that I could have used along the drive, and more. I was confused, because I did what they asked me to do. But he challenged me to pursue excellence.

That summer, and every summer after that, I never hurt for finding people that would let me cut their grass. I never asked for a raise either, but they always paid me more because I went the extra mile. Whatever the task is before you, go the extra mile for others. Look for ways that you can do not only what the bare minimum requirement is, but look for what else could be done. This is how you move from good to great in your influence, relationships and respect with others.

In your work, your relationships, as you are serving others in the community - whatever and wherever it might be - you have the opportunity to change the world by being willing to go the extra mile for others. This challenge requires a true “It’s Not About Me” servant-heart that my pride tries to beat into submission more often that not. Be willing. Pursue excellence. Give of yourself.

Let’s leave this world and those that God has intentionally placed around better off than when we found it.

So, Go. Let’s change the world together.


Go Home: Lead & Love Your Family Well

Go Out of Your Way: Encourage & Invest in One Person Every Day

Go Make a Difference: Always Leave People, Places, & the Planet Better Than How You Found It

Go Above & Beyond: Be Willing to Go the Second Mile for Others