In my community work serving on the Steering Group for the Community Alliance for Youth Success (CAYS), I get to work with some really remarkable world changers who are truly living their passion and purpose and are making a huge difference in the world. One of these remarkable people is Helice “Sparky” Bridges of Ignite What’s Right and the founder of Difference Makers International and the Blue Ribbon Ceremony. Sparky had a vision to acknowledge people for their unique gifts by honoring them with a blue ribbon that says “Who I Am Makes a Difference” – she is on a mission to honor 1 Billion People and has been doing this for over 30 years and has already reached over 40 million people. This is so powerful since Sparky was inspired to do this to eradicate bullying and saw the world would be a better place if we took the time to acknowledge each other for our unique gifts. I am grateful to have received 4 blue ribbons from different people and I receive the acknowledgement each time with a humble heart knowing that who I am makes a difference. And yes that photo is of Sparky and I at Youth Success Week this past January – part of our CAYS work.
The truth is that all of us do matter and sometimes the biggest bully can be ourselves to ourselves. So often when I work with clients they feel like they are broken and don’t matter whether that is because of a layoff, a divorce, loss of direction, lack of hope, low self-esteem, etc. A big part of what we do together is to help them remember that they do matter. We do this through a variety of ways:
1) Acknowledging accomplishments – reflecting on what they are most proud in their lives.
2) Looking at what they love about themselves and celebrating who they are.
3) Uncovering the difference they want to make and start taking action to make this difference as soon as possible even with baby steps to start.
4) Surrounding themselves with positive, uplifting people who can remind them that they matter and encourage and support them to live their dreams.
I just took a trip back to New Jersey – where I am originally from. As we know, New Jersey and the Northeast can get a bad rap for people being a bit rough around the edges. But what I can say is what I noticed is when I slowed down and took the time to have conversations with random people wherever we were – the airport, the airplane, in New York City, wherever – I could see that each person matters and took the time to let them know that they did. I could also see how much each person really wants to connect with others and have an opportunity to practice kindness. One of my favorite encounters was at the Freedom Tower – the memorial for 9/11 where the World Trade was. I had a very deep and meaningful conversation with one of the guards at the site – who shared with me that he was 5 when the towers went down and how is father was a policeman involved in the rescue efforts as well as his Mom who also helped. He said it is his honor to be at the site to be of service to remember all of the people who lost their lives and be of service to the visitors to share whatever they want to know. It was clear that this young man knows his life matters and he is clearly living his passion and purpose and through a very difficult situation – he is helping to make this world a better place. He said to me – I talk to people all over the world and I acknowledge any tragedies that happen where they are from and let them know that this site is to demonstrate that we are all one and here for each other. I let him know that who he is does make a difference.
Are you aware that who you are makes a difference? I hope you do, because who you are DOES make a difference :).
Special thanks again to Helice “Sparky” Bridges for making such a big difference in this world by letting others know that who they are makes a difference.
Feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org and visit my website at www.careerswithwings.com.