Harnessing the Ripple Effect for Good
Written by Debbie Eldridge, Operations Analyst and Trainer
One rock thrown into a pond creates ripples. Sometimes you see the rock as it’s thrown, but other times you only have time to react to the ripples. We don’t always get a heads-up before change happens. In fact, I’d say that’s true a majority of the time. For better or for worse, one tiny change kicks off a chain reaction of events that you might never foresee. Whether you’re a leader, team member, community member, or family member, it’s important to be mindful of this before making a change, as the ripples will impact a wide range of other employees as they spread.
Recognize your potential role as the rock thrower. You’re the force that makes change. This change could be for a better workplace, change for a better life, change for a better community, or change for a better future for our children.
With that thought in mind, what small change can you toss into the pond we call life to make a positive and lasting impact? More and more often, some people think that if you don’t do something that goes viral or makes the top news story that it doesn’t make a difference. That is not true.
Look at those around you every day: your family, your neighbors, and your coworkers. Is there something they did recently that you noticed made a difference? Acknowledge it and honor it with your own positive ripples.
Look at those who smile, hold a door, or offer assistance. These people spread kindness and cheer.
Look at those who suffer heartache and loss, but courageously keep moving forward in spite of their grief.
Look at those who are neglected, forsaken, and forgotten, yet they face each new day with fierce determination to never give up.
Look at those who serve others through charities or organizations to give back to the community and help those in need. They’re spending free time helping others.
These people are inspiring. Just like the rest of us, rocks landed in their lives, creating chaos, but they choose to react to the waves and ripples in positive ways. They are rocks in their own right, creating positive change in their own lives and in others.
After talking with a friend about her experience responding to disasters around the country, I decided I wanted to be ready to help locally. I know myself — If something happens in my community, I want to be ready. I’m not the type of person who can walk by and not help; I imagine most of us aren’t.
Real World Ripples
My friend has training for local emergencies with CERT (Community Emergency Response Team), so I signed up for the local training. I was so touched by the training conducted by local police and fire teams and their stories of their daily real life experiences, that I continued beyond the initial program to join the training team. I’ve been part of this for three years now. We train at least once a month on various topics, such as communicating with a deaf person in an emergency, searching for and rescuing missing children, assessing damages after a storm, spotting bad weather, controlling traffic, triaging and first aid treatment to name a few. We help at events such as parades, 5K runs, and large events, as well, to provide relief to first responders, which I know they appreciate when there are large crowds. Being part of an organization of volunteers who are ready and able to assist our community is a wonderful way to impact others around us with positive ripples. It’s all about people helping people.