by Rebecca Harmon, MPM, RHIA, CCA

When I worked with the local community college, I enjoyed traveling to area high schools to talk about career planning with students. I was always struck with the students’ enthusiasm for their futures, but I also often heard some wildly unrealistic plans. When I say “unrealistic,” it’s not because I think we shouldn’t dream big – in school or otherwise. My sadness about some of the student’s goals came from seeing that their “go big or go home” mindset was making it hard for them to look at anything other than being a rap star, an NFL player, or the “next Tony Hawk” as a success.

I’ve written before about the importance of being grateful at work. I think it’s just as important to remind ourselves that we can have a major impact on our organizations, our industry, our communities, and the world by doing good things in small ways, every day – regardless of our role or job title.

The kind word to a new colleague, helpful directions to a lost patient, and the willing hand to our supervisor when it isn’t in our job description: all of these are small, but significant ways that we can do good at work. We can keep quiet when others invite us to complain about someone or something. We can practice forgiveness when another person isn’t as understanding with us as we would have liked them to be (everyone has a bad day now and again).

Organizations can sometimes have departments or teams where there are chronic people problems and turmoil. Maybe some of you have inadvertently landed in one of these as part of your career journey. If so, I have good news for you! Regardless of your job title, pay grade, or position in the organization; you have the ability to lead positive change that can turn things around.

Like a pebble thrown into the middle of a quiet pond, our small acts of good ripple out in every direction and create an effect beyond our immediate circumstances. We may never know all the downstream results set in motion by one seemingly small act of goodness.

Each one of us can plant the seeds for a better experience through simple acts that can transform problem areas into places where kindness, helpful attitudes and smiles are the new norm.

We don’t need to be a CEO, best-selling author, award-winning actor, or star athlete to make a difference in the world. We can start where we are, today; find some good that is ours to do, and watch the ripples stretch out and touch the world.

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