One Person

How One Person Can Make A Difference. Learn from a teenager how you can make a difference in your leadership career. Become an inspiration

Here is a story of how one person can make a difference ...

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 wild 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.

It Took One Person ... One Inspired Girl ...

Off to the right-hand side of the auditorium - almost out of sight, I spied a small group of about ten 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".

From Small Beginnings ... One Person Made a Different

Within about 3 minutes the entire auditorium had joined in. Slowly though, the chant petered out. Hillary hadn't appeared, and the energy faltered.

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 ordinarily. Maybe 40 girls around them half-heartedly throwing their hands in the air. Clearly not bouncing out of their chairs and on 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?!?)

However our small band of intrepid leaders were not to be defeated! Calling on their previous successful experience - if they could get 6,000 people to chant, surely they could get them to Wave. Encouraged by their fearless 'leader,' they began vigorously spurring those around them to jump up and get the Wave going.

It took many attempts. 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 an Amazing Piece of Leadership

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 remembers 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. They remember this night. They not forget that one person can make a difference.

These young girls connected 6,000 others to their common purpose. Of having a fun time, and 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? 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"

Are You That Someone?

You know you don't have to have the title leader to be that someone.

Those young girls, were stuck out on the side of the Brisbane Entertainment Centre - in the cheap seats. They 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. To layer in another wonderful memory.

Think about it ... It only takes one person to make a difference!

Enjoy this video about the Power of One - It is lovely and inspiring

Related Articles


Have Your Say