Smallest acts can make the biggest difference

This post was originally going to be a tweet, but as I started writing, I realised it was never going to fit into 280 characters. I’ve been reflecting a lot lately on how the smallest acts can make the biggest difference; it’s impossible to know the enormous impact that a simple can change can have.

I have found this to be true in both my personal and work lives. I have written before about the impact one care coordinator had on my recovery several years ago; she presented me with a simple, hastily drawn picture that changed the way I saw my journey. She was trying to help me, but I’m sure she had no idea how much that single act would do to support me.

Sometimes, it’s the littlest things that matter the most. A friend shared a video with me recently about the reintroduction of wolves into Yellowstone National Park; consequently, a dying ecosystem was revived, the balance of life cycles restored. It doesn’t always take a miracle. Sometimes it just takes one tiny shift for wolves to change rivers. See video below

I’ve been lucky enough to work with the incredible staff on Kingsley Ward as part of the Quality Improvement projects I’ve been involved with. This has been a fantastic journey, but it started with a healthy dose of scepticism from the staff. I would love to be able to say that I was the person who motivated the sense of change and excitement for that change that gradually developed, but I can’t. The Ward Manager and her team brought an incredible sense of positivity and hard work to the project, through a series of small but deeply impactful moments and changes that have made a real difference on the ward.
The Ward Manager and her team brought an incredible sense of positivity and hard work to the project.

There are so many examples I could give - examples of a one act, one conversation, one small thing that can make such a significant difference. Many of the people who have made the greatest difference in my life probably have no idea that they have done it.

For example, a colleague recently took the time to talk to me about some of the things that I struggle with. The conversation was fairly general and innocuous, discussing some of the science behind what I was experiencing. However, I found it incredibly insightful to really comprehend why I still struggle, to give me a deeper understanding of my own experiences. This new perspective is one which I know will be helpful during more difficult times; my colleague, however, probably had no idea what a profound difference she made, just by talking to me.

What has stuck with me is the message that we all have the power to make this kind of profound change in someone’s life. It only takes a small act to make an impact. It might be as simple as checking that someone is alright, asking twice. Maybe it’s taking a leap of faith and believing in something, like the team at Kingsley Ward did. Seeing this has given me hope.

It gives me a sense of hope to think that what I’ve been through in my life has been worth it, because I might be able to have the smallest positive impact on another person. It gives me hope to know that even the most seemingly inconsequential actions can have meaning to someone else. And sometimes, when things look the darkest, this hope is what gets me through.


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