Here is a story of how one person can make a difference ...
A few years ago, I took my then 13 year old daughter, Connor and her two best friends to a Hillary Duff Concert. If Connor and her friends were anything to go by, the 6,000 tweenies at the Brisbane Entertainment Centre had been whipping themselves into an excited frenzy, for a couple of months, as they'd been counting down the days until they could see their idol Hillary Duff in concert.
The concert was late to start, and the crowd was becoming restive. I was entertaining myself by looking around the room and watching what different girls (and their Mums) were doing to bide their time.
Off to the right-hand side of the auditorium - almost out of sight, I spied a small group of about 10 girls start to chant Hillary (clap, clap, clap) Hillary (clap, clap, clap). They were doing it for about two minutes or so, with next to no-one picking up their chant.
Then one of the girls turned to some girls next to them and you could see her encouraging them to their feet, come on get up she seemed to be saying - "Join in: Let's get Hillary on stage".
Within about 3 minutes the entire auditorium had joined in. Slowly though, the chant petered out. Hillary hadn't appeared and the energy wasn't sustained.
Then again one person made a difference! This young girl encouraged her friends and the same small group of girls began a Mexican wave.
Again, it started off fairly ordinarily - probably 40 girls around them half-heartedly throwing their hands in the air - certainly not bouncing out of their chairs to their feet. You could see these potential 'wavers' looking around to see if others would join in or if they would end up looking foolish. Awaiting social approval to get involved. (Being cool, is just so important at this age - well I guess, at what age isn't it?!?)
Calling on their previous successful experience - if they could get 6,000 people to chant, surely they could get them to Wave - you could see all of the girls in this small band decide not to be defeated. They began vigorously encouraging those around them to jump up and get the wave going.
It took many attempts, sure there were sections that very slow to participate, but within about 5 minutes this small band of girls had the entire auditorium doing the mexican wave (along with the squeals - I wished I'd recorded it for you, it was one of those life experiences you just have to have! (Or not in this lifetime, as one of my very dear friends - who has no kids - said this morning . The waves went on for about 10 full circuits of the arena - I was gobsmacked!
What did it take to get 6,000 people acting together? It began with one person and then ...
A small group of enthusiastic girls in their early teens ... who didn't give up. I only hope each of those girls remember this moment, throughout their lives because this concert gave them a wonderful life lesson. Should they find themselves in a situation, in which they want to influence others ... to get others to follow them ... to engage others - who aren't necessarily thinking of, or wanting to be engaged - that they remember this night -- they remember that one person can make a difference.
These young girls connected 6,000 others to their common purpose of having a fun time, and being involved in creating a terrific experience.
A moment when they acted powerfully and influenced 6,000 people to do something they were initially resisting.
Did the 'Hillary chant' or the 'Wave' get Hillary out on stage any earlier? Undoubtedly not! Yet they did indeed make a difference. These two acts inspired and engaged a restive audience. They did help time to pass quicker, and added another layer of 'concert' experience, for each tweeny there.
In your workplace do you have people who are bored, who are restive or who aren't as engaged as they could be?
I wonder if they are looking for someone to get them started, on a figurative wave? Are they looking for that one person who can inspire them? Could you be that one person? That ...
Someone who, will inspire them with a vision of how things could be.
Someone who, will engage and inspire them.
Someone who, won't give up at the first sign of resistance.
Someone who, will show them the social approval all humans desire.
Someone who, will cheer them on at the first sign of making an effort.
Someone who, when things are challenging will say "let's make the very best of this situation and see if we can influence the outcome. And even if we can't influence the outcome, let's have fun doing it."
You know you don't have to have the title leader to be that someone.
Those young girls, stuck out on the side of the Brisbane Entertainment Centre, certainly didn't seem to be carrying any badges with leader written on them, yet they persuaded 6,0000 to do their bidding and by so doing they enabled everyone to have some fun.
Think about it ... It only takes one person to make a difference!
I hope you enjoy this video - I found it lovely and inspiring
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