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How Does Change Make Communities Thrive?

(Guest post by Jon Mertz @ThinDifference)

Change is always changing. A circular statement? Although it is, change is never static. The impact of change on individuals, families, colleagues, and citizens is unsettling and welcome. We begin to see the dichotomy of change. Some change we like, and other changes we do not.

Change can wear on us or enliven us. More than either of these options, we may end up talking more about change than changing. Talking is easy. Change takes action.

A famous Mahatma Gandhi quote is “Be the change that you wish to see in the world.” The words are inspiring. “Be the change” has evolved into an almost static moment. Just be, and all will be fine!

“Be the change” is much more. I believe it means that we need to act on the change we wish to see. We need to be the example we want to see.

The standard of “be the change” rises. More than just one person –

  • What if one person gathered 20 others to facilitate change?
  • What if one person helped 20 people?
  • What if each of the 20 individuals engaged in change or being helped by another then did the same?

The power of change multiplies when we join with others and then they do the same. Picture this. Twenty people standing in a circle holding hands. On top of each grasped hand, another hand connected with another 20 individuals connected in a circle. And then again and again. What you visualize is the concentric power of 20 people facilitating change.

Margaret Mead, a cultural anthropologist, said, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” Twenty people is a small group. Twenty people, energized by one, can energize a community.

We can be the change, or we can rise to another level. We can act on the change we want to see.

Being present is a starting point. From here, we need to act with the passion of change and the compassion of understanding the change required to make a positive impact. A positive impact is a community growing, serving, and making lives better.

Enabling a thriving community is not complicated; it is hard. We can never let the challenges hold us back. Instead, we need to rise up to the challenge for the sake of our communities and character.

Join us for a #SpiritChat conversation about change and community. As part of this conversation, consider starting a small project of change within your community on January 20th. A grassroots initiative started called #One20. The goal: On Inauguration Day, let’s make it a day of doing good works. Let’s show our better side by doing good where we are. Let us act on the change we what to see and experience. Learn more at One20.today and on the One20Today Facebook page.

Jon Mertz is the author of Activate Leadership: Aspen Truths to Empower Millennial Leaders and founder of Thin Difference, a cross-generational community to connect leaders on purpose. You can join the conversation on Facebook by liking the Thin Difference page.

Ajmanik’s Note: I am so very excited to host my long-time friend Jon Mertz in our weekly #SpiritChat twitter chat on Sunday, January 15th at 9am ET/2pm UTC. Jon’s theme of a ‘call to  action’ to create change is a perfect example of “Karma Yoga” – the practice of Yoga through ‘Karma’ or action. Do join me (@AjmaniK) and Jon (@ThinDifference) this Sunday!