Our much loved Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu is quoted as having said: ‘Do your little bit of good where you are; it’s those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world’.
In addition to having referenced these words before, the large photograph of the Arch prominently displayed in my consulting rooms acts as a daily reminder of the power vested in living each day with the mind and heart set of doing a bit of good.
My work enjoys the immense privilege of listening to the details of the personal and professional journeys of many; their highs and lows; gains and losses; ambitions and fears – and so much more. And in so doing, also hearing the common theme of those who seem to feel ‘less than’ in-so-far as believing that they have failed in making a tangible, measurable difference in the world.
In this past week there have been two conversations, held with highly successful, competent, professional people whose personal narrative tells them that they have not added value or left their mark of difference along the roads they have travelled so far.
The objective reality however is that theirs are stories of having not only achieved, but having also done so by taking tremendously courageous and bold steps in rising above significant challenges and resistance. Whilst not necessarily gaining public applause or making headline news splashed across billboards, these brave individuals have positively altered the lives of the numerous people their actions have touched – directly and indirectly. And have continued to pay it forward.
The exponential impact of making a difference to one person ought not to be discounted. For that one life will go on to influence, assist and advance the life of another – and so it goes. Person by person the ‘little bit of good’ will expand to create the shift needed in realising change.
It starts with focusing on one other, first – and grows from there.
We ought not to confuse the absence of individual, professional, financial or social recognition for the work we do, with the value of it. The fact that visibility on the world stage is not available to everybody ought not to detract from the desire to do good.
We are all connected and each little bit adds up to exactly that which the Arch describes in overwhelming the world.