Surly drivers, rude clerks, negative coworkers, frustrated family members. Arms crossed, eyes down, frowny faces.
- I can join ‘em (which sometimes I do on my really bad days)
- I can avoid ‘em (which is my MO when I’m tired or discouraged)
- Or I can engage ‘em
Why bother you say?
Change is often like the ripples we see when a pebble is tossed into a pond. The ripples may not be large, but they circle out from the point of impact in bigger and bigger circles.
Standing in line to order coffee, the point of contact is likely to be simple – a smile or a few words. And the change may be as simple as a smile. But that smile can then ripple to the next person.
With people I know better, the potential impact is larger – but bigger ripples require greater investment of time and energy at the point of contact. Being willing to engage. Asking curious questions. Listening, really listening.
Most of us try to create positive ripples but of course there’s times when I need to avoid making any ripples because I’m not in a good space and none of my ripples are going to be good. And sometimes I won’t have the emotional energy or time to invest. However, the impact of even small positive changes can be significant. Below is part of a message from someone regarding this very impact.
“It’s that ripple effect. You pull me aside (the single act). I engage in self-reflection and make an adjustment, and then there are a hundred things that are now done in a better way.”
Today I’m asking myself: where can I invest some time and/or energy to create some good ripples?