How many times have we been overwhelmed by the magnitude of the need, to the point where we begin to think that the problem is just too huge for us to be able to make any difference at all? I was watching one of my favorite inspirational speakers– Christine Caine– on YouTube this week when she said something that posed an incredible challenge to me. She said this:

We often see the magnitude of the problem, and we think ‘Because I can’t do everything, I’ll do nothing, instead of doing the one thing that will activate something.

This is one of the most difficult topics I’ve written about, because in a way I’m preaching to myself. This summer I planned a fundraising event for a non-profit program that is very near and dear to my heart. My financial goal was aggressive to say the least. I should also mention that we were putting on a first-time-ever event for a program that no one had ever heard of, with no staff, no PR agency support, no media partner and only one corporate sponsor. Are you laughing yet?

As we ventured further into the planning process, I began to define the value of our efforts in dollars. I was unable to see the importance of the new partners we’d introduced, the value of the awareness we’d created, and the way we’d been able to expand the program support base. I didn’t care that critics had dubbed the event a “must attend” for next year. I didn’t care that everyone was talking about it. It didn’t matter that we’d been able to bring CEOs, editors, political leaders, community leaders and major media influencers together to celebrate the success of a single program. Because we’d fallen short of our financial goal– of my value system– I viewed the event as a failure.

After several weeks of feeling sorry for myself and wallowing in self-induced disappointment, I realized that we’d actually created a brand new opportunity to shine a major spotlight on a single program, and a successful platform for future fundraising efforts that now everyone wanted to be a part of.

Christine Caine says this: “Don’t devalue the seed because it looks nothing like the harvest.” We all have gifts, talents and abilities within ourselves that can make a huge impact on the world around us. Rarely- if ever- does one single person have the ability to solve the entire problem, but what if we were all willing to give just a little? What if we began to see the value in the small things we were able to contribute instead of being overwhelmed by the magnitude of the problem? What if we all just did something instead of focusing on the fact that we’re unable to fix everything? What if all it took to make a big difference was…thinking small?

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