“Let this be the year that you change the world.”

These are the words that were going through my mind when I woke up on Christmas morning.

This is something that happens every once in a while – I wake up in the morning, and by the time I’m fully conscious, which is just a second or two later, I realize that there’s a phrase or sentence repeating itself in my brain. Sometimes it’s a line from a song, and I find myself thinking back to the night before and trying to recall if I heard the song on the radio at some point in the evening.

Sometimes it’s a random statement. It may be something profound, something confusing or disconcerting, or something that’s just plain weird. Whatever it is, it catches my attention and I then start wondering, “Where in the world did THAT come from?” Maybe it was from the tail end of a dream I was having before I woke up, one that has already dissipated in the wide-awake light of day. Or perhaps it’s my brain simply pulling together bits of whatever it’s been processing while I was sleeping.

Wherever it comes from, I usually don’t give it much thought after that, and by later in the day I can’t even remember what it was.

But not this time. It wasn’t a line from any song I knew. It didn’t seem like a random thought. And it wasn’t the type of comment I was likely to forget. Even so, I got up quickly and wrote it down so I wouldn’t lose it later on. And I’ve been thinking about it ever since.

I’m sure that some people would laugh at this, and others are probably rolling their eyes even now. But I have to say that the words I heard on Christmas morning felt to me like God whispering. And giving me an assignment. Or at least a nudge.

That whole idea of changing the world is something that may sound naïve and idealistic and impossible. Yet it’s something I’ve actually been giving a lot of thought to lately, in part because I’ve seen – in very recent times and from fairly close proximity – people who are doing it.

As our “Lead Like Jesus” team was getting set to leave an area in Uganda where we had done several programs and where much healing and forgiving had taken place, we were told, “You have changed this town,” by someone who grew up there. We were later told, “You have changed this country,” after we completed LLJ Encounters with government, business, religious and student leaders in different parts of Uganda. Some people also told us that they wanted to take the program into other African countries as well. And if a program like this can change a town, a country, and a continent, it’s certainly something that can change the world.

Then there’s Marcia Wieder, who developed the Dream Coaching program and founded Dream University. Her new goal is to help one million people achieve their dreams in 2012. (You can learn more about this at www.dreamuniversity.com.) I know how life-changing Dream Coaching can be, from going through the program myself and from coaching others. When you discover your purpose and your passion, and you incorporate them as you pursue and achieve your own dreams, there are a number of other things you accomplish as well. You gain confidence, enthusiasm, and determination that may be unlike anything you have ever experienced before, and that often spreads to the people around you. It’s contagious in the best possible way, and inspires others to do and become more than they ever knew they could. And if a million people around the world are all working at this at the same time, you’d better believe it can change the world!
There are other people I know – and still more that I know of, even if I don’t know them personally – who are doing the kind of work that can have a powerful, positive and global impact. But until fairly recently, I would never have put myself in the same category as them.
But what I’ve learned in the last few years is that you don’t have to be rich or famous or well-connected to make a difference or to change the world. You don’t have to be a saint or a martyr or a genius or a magician.

All you have to be is determined. All you have to have is something that you believe in very strongly and that can improve the lives of others as well as yourself. And all you have to do is share it with the world. With one person at a time, one family at a time, one community at a time. Be a living and shining example of it every day of your life, and others can’t help but notice.

Let them see and share your confidence and your commitment. Let them understand and experience your vision and your mission. Let them enjoy and be inspired by your achievements and your accomplishments, by your resolve and your results.

And let this be the year that YOU change the world.

The column “Find Your Buried Treasure” appears weekly in the Chanhassen (MN) Villager. This column was published on January 5, 2012.
© Betty Liedtke, 2012