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One Person Can Change the World

My psychology students at Saint Mary's University in Halifax can attest to the fact that I have spent the last 25 years telling these young leaders of tomorrow that they can change the world. I make this statement as a point of fact, not opinion. All major change that has ever happened in the world started with one person saying out loud the something is not right, and needs to change. Then someone else hears it and says you're right, we need to change this. Then another, and person at a time. The next thing you know, women are voting in Canada, same-sex marriage is legal, slavery is abolished in the U.S., apartheid is ended. The list goes on. Each one of us has the power to change the world, just by starting to say out loud what needs to change, and influencing others to do the same.

This is the true essence of leadership. It is about inspiring people to see a vision of how things can be, and empowering them to stand up and participate in making that change happen. It is about helping someone see that what they consider normal, because it has always been this way, is not right, acceptable, socially-just, or good for us. But until someone starts to say it out loud, nothing changes and the status quo is still all that people know. Once someone starts to stand up and say "this is not right...we need to change it", and then also tries to inspire someone else to see a different and better vision, the snowball starts to grow. Momentum and change become inevitable.

Leadership is not about a position or a job. It is about inspiration, vision, and helping people to see that things can be made better. My favourite quote of all time is by Margaret Mead, who said "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has". All it takes to begin to lead major social change, is for you or I to start identifying what is wrong, unjust, inappropriate, or harmful, and at the same time start identifying what a better future could and should look like. Post it, say it out loud, share it in any way you can so that others realize they don't need to accept the status quo, and it is possible to achieve better.

Find your voice. Find the leader in you.