Do you consider yourself ordinary? Whether or not you are, the annals of success are filled with stories of ordinary citizens who took a good idea–“Bring Your Sons and Daughters to Work” or “Megan’s Law”–and nurtured it to fruition. Remember, fruition is a process and it begins with commitment to making an improvement–in your own life or in the lives of others. Inspiration is critical. So is overcoming resistance.

To effect a plan that has a positive impact in your corner of the world, you’ll need to:

   View from a wider perspective the positive change a single person can effect

   Practice ways to overcome the resistance others may have to change

   Develop an action plan for putting specific changes into effect

   Share that plan with those who can help you make it happen.


“Most of us are greater than we dare to believe,” William Arthur Ward asserted. Further, remember that it’s been said that if you doubt the power of a single entity to effect change, then you’ve never been in bed with a mosquito! On a more serious note, consider that Lech Walensa invited nine others to meet with him regarding the need for reform in the Polish government. A month later, that number had grown to 95 million. In the words of cultural anthropologist Margaret Mead, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”

What examples can you think of involving change instituted by either a single individual or a committed group of citizens? (Be inspired by people like Rosa Parks, Mother Theresa, Princess Diana, Eunice Shriver, JFK, John Walsh, Candy Lichtner and by programs like National Secretaries Week, the 4-H Club, and so many others.)


Janis Joplin maintained we have to avoid compromising ourselves. “You are all you’ve got,” she reminds us. And you are all you need to make some remarkable things happen. But if you are not banishing negative thoughts, those remarkable things may not see the light of day.


Do some reading about people who had faith in themselves and their missions. People like Masie Devore, an 83-year-old farmer in Eskridge, Kansas. After many years, she finally succeeded in her 30-year ambition: she collected enough empty cans over the years and knitted enough afghans to raise $100,000, which she donated to the town for a community swimming pool. “I knew it could be done,” she asserts. She was invited to Washington, D.C., to receive the Jacqueline Kennedy award for outstanding community service.

Determine what drives such individuals to do what they do.Then ask yourself what is driving you?


1. Think back to your childhood. What did you want to be when you grew up?

2. Have you become that person? If not, what derailed your dream?

3. Can your dream be salvaged?

4. Could a variation on your dream become part of your current life?

5. What is your current dream?

6. What is preventing you from accomplishing it?

7. Which of the “obstacles” are absolute and truly cannot be overcome?

8. Whom do you most admire? Why?

9. How can you incorporate that person’s behaviors into your own?

10. What can you accomplish during the next 12 months, using this person’s

image or accomplishment as a guide?

11. Where will you start?

12. Who will support you?

13. How will you know when you’ve met success?


Power does not flow to invisible people. If you truly want to make positive change happen, you cannot cling to the wall like a flower. You have to come to the forefront to see and be seen. Start small with self- and plan-actualization efforts. Reward yourself every time you step out of your comfort zone. And remember all those dreamers who preceded you in making a positive change in the world.


  • Dr. Marlene Caroselli is the author of 60+ books, the most recent of which ("Applying Mr. Einstein") will be released by HRD Press in 2020. You can reach her at [email protected]