Little Things Do Make A Difference
Think back on your life. Think of the people who exerted a powerful influence on you. If your past has been the same as mine, most of them have not seen the impact they have made. The influence often stemmed from your caring and petty actions. What little things have been done for you that have changed your life? What little things did you do for someone else that might change theirs?
I was influenced by the little things that others did.
I had a manager who asked if I had the courage to take on a job that he saw fit to do. It was a job I didn’t even have to apply for. That question motivated me to set my career goals higher and faster than those at the time.
When I attended my first Toastmasters meeting this group made me feel welcome from the moment I walked into the room. One person made a point of introducing me to several members before the start of the first meeting. Someone relied on me on my second visit, just before my first talk, to let me know what to expect and to let me know that I would do well. Thank you both.
Children can influence us too. A good example of this happened to me at the Cub Scout summer camp here in my hometown of Fredericksburg, Virginia. For those of you who are not familiar with Cub Scouts, the boys range from grade one to grade 5. I arrived early on the first day of camp to make sure everything went well for our team. We made everyone sign up for church events, set up a roof where scouts and leaders could go under a certain shade for lunch and then go to the flagpole. In the flagpole, all participants in the camp said the Pledge of Allegiance, and then the camp leader began to issue orders. In the middle of the instructions, one of the first-grade boys pulled on my pants leg. When I looked down at her, she had a big smile on her face. He said, “Mr. Carr, I’m having a really good time ”and he was right! They had not even begun their first camp work. At the time, I knew that all the hours I spent as a scout leader were worth it.
I have found that we can influence others by doing small things for them.
You can influence others by offering help when needed. When I say give, I am not talking about giving. Most people will not take you for granted even if they need you more. I remember taking food to a sick couple. This was not someone I knew. It was a friend of someone who was in my Sunday school class. Two years later they saw me, thanked me, and told me that this meant a lot to them. They even remembered my name two years later! One way I helped was to give advice to my colleagues who now call me their mentor. Also, to help families pack a truck to leave. Some of these families are our friends today even though they live in several provinces.
One way I have found that you can influence others is by saying “thank you.” I don’t think I’ve ever seen the power of saying thank you until the last few months. I was at a professional symposium in North Virginia. I was one of the conference leaders. During break time, I sat in a room where one of the classrooms was given a view of all the students’ belongings during the day. During the break, three hotel staff members entered the room and filled the jars with water, and pulled out clean glasses. One of the staff was obviously a mentally ill person who was hired to help. Her job was to put clean glasses on the tables. While working at the table I was sitting at I said a simple “thank you”. I will never forget the look on his face. I would tell him he won the lottery and he wouldn’t look so happy! Even after they left the room to go to the next one, I could still hear him screaming as loud as he could about this “handsome man”.
Taking notes is a third way you can influence others. I started writing thank-you notes a few years ago (for reasons other than accepting a gift). I was repeatedly thanked for some of these thank you notes and was told that I had not done that. I have just learned and started to use a new way of taking notes. I read it from Charlie “Tremendous” Jones who has encouraged me to pass this on to others. Buy some inexpensive, inspiring books that have a positive effect on you. Write an encouraging note inside the cover of one of those letters and give it to that person. You will feel good about it, reading a book will change a person, and they will always think of you when they read it. What a powerful act!
Start today doing small things for others.
I can look back on my past and recall a few times when God used a person to do something that encouraged me. I have also heard from others who have been influenced by me to do the same. There are many types of small things you can do to encourage others. Some of these include providing assistance where needed, saying thank you, and taking notes. What will you do today with someone who will make a difference in his or her life?