The Power of One


I just got back from an inspiring visit to Washington, D.C. and it left me realizing the Power of One – the difference one individual can make. As I stood at the US Capitol, I couldn’t help but think about the amazing men and women who laid the foundation for the freedom and rights we enjoy today.  Like the other community volunteers on this trip, I went to DC with United Way because I want to affect positive change and I believe in the impact one passionate individual can have. His or her passion can engage others, and quickly turn from individual to collective impact.

During this trip, we talked to legislators about partnering with them to address challenges around income, education and health in our community. As I think about the challenges I hear from the Tunisian women in the Bush Institute’s Fellowship Program who are working to catalyze change around the world, I realize how much access and influence each of us has in the US – if we choose to leverage it.

Although it’s still not an easy task to make big changes happen, we can make a difference one person at a time. By arming others with knowledge and tools they can pass on to others, and by helping them develop strong support networks, the Power of One quickly multiplies. In D.C., we did just that. We shared vital information and laid the foundation for collaborative relationships that will allow us to work together down the road to affect greater change.

So, I want to challenge you to think about how you currently use the Power of One in your own life. You don’t have to take a trip to D.C., or take on a big project or role to do this. Every day you have the opportunity to make a big difference through each and every individual you touch.

Whether or not you hold a formal leadership role, think about how much you advocate for the change and results you want to see. Notice how you:

  • Show up, and how your energy affects those around you

  • Use your passion to engage others in being part of a bigger vision

  • Leverage your strengths and knowledge to build capability in others

  • Help others build stronger support networks

As you consider these areas where you can demonstrate leadership, choose one to focus on and identify one small step will you take to put the Power of One into play this week. And remember that small steps can lead to big results.