The Ripple Effect of Good Work


One of my top Clifton StrengthsFinder themes is Connectedness, and while I do see, feel and believe in the “ripple” effect, sometimes, I question my impact on big needs and issues that the world is facing.  I teach and coach that we each have a role, a call to use our strengths, passions and values as guideposts to making a difference in the world.  My call is to work with others as they grow into their highest potential.  I connect people to their True Selves and help them to move into action from Presence. 

But… there is still a small whisper inside my heart that says, “Jody, what are you doing about climate change, destruction of our lakes, rivers, oceans, land and air?  Jody, there is violence, war, poverty, homelessness, loneliness and illness.”

If this whisper keeps me awake, diligent and compassionate, then I welcome it.  But there are times when it raises it’s voice and hopelessness knocks on my heart’s door.  An old scratchy recording plays, “you aren’t big enough, you are not strong enough, you’re not smart enough.”  Hopelessness has come for a visit and it has brought it’s old, dusty record collection that it wants to play in my house.


This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they are a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice.
meet them at the door laughing and invite them in.

Be grateful for whatever comes.
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.

~ Jelaluddin Rumi, translation by Coleman Barks

Rumi does not say, “let them ruin your house.” Nor, “let them move in.” So let me remember that hopelessness is not invited to live with me- it may visit on occasion, with it’s friends, depression and fear, but I do not need to create a story that keeps them from moving on and moving through.  I do not accept playing those old, scratchy recordings that they carry with them. I may choose to entertain them with some new recordings that have a base line of boldness and a tune of true humility.

This morning the knock on my heart’s door was from gratefulness, joy and true humility.  I received an e-mail from a coaching client of mine that reminded me that my work has a ripple effect and in those ripples, my work connects or touches all the issues that my compassionate, connected heart beats for.

This particular client is a medical doctor and some key lines from this morning's e-mail are:

"Then came Ebola and I felt compelled to respond. I am leaving for Liberia a week from tomorrow for 3-4 months to help stop the spread by caring for Ebola patients. I am at peace with this. All of my energy is focused now on the preparations for being gone for that long period of time. 

Again, thank you for your help. I will take with me some of your teaching to improve my interactions with my team of healthcare professionals in Liberia.”

I celebrate the ripple effect of good work.  I send my open, full heart to all of those courageous people who are working around the world on Ebola. 

I just wanted to share a moment that fuels me to keep going… maybe this can be a knock on your heart’s door to keep doing your own good work.  We’ll put the welcome mat out for you.