Making a Difference

I’m being nudged to share a newsletter that I recently received from Oren Jay Sofer, subject line: Can any of us make a difference? (Spoiler alert: we CAN!)

It’s a sweet and refreshing message, followed by an announcement of an upcoming communication course. While I haven’t taken “Say What You Mean”, I recently completed a different program of his which was incredibly helpful.

Without further adieu, I’ve copied and pasted his email below.

I’ve had a few conversations with close friends lately about the state of our world. 

While life offers so much to be joyful and appreciative for, and while humankind has made genuine progress worthy of celebration, the affects of the pandemic, the climate crisis, and income inequality are heavy. 

It’s hard to know what to do and easy to feel overwhelmed. 

Sometimes, when I feel stuck by the complex, daunting nature of the problems we face collectively, I remember a story I heard once as a kid. 

One day, after a big storm, a child was walking along the beach. The shoreline was scattered with starfish—thousands strewn up and down the beach, as far as the eye could see. 

Soon, the child came upon a neighbor, patiently picking up the starfish one at a time and tossing them back into the ocean. She watched, puzzled, and then asked: “Hey, what are you doing?” 

 “They’ll die out here. I’m helping to save them.” 

“But—there are so many,” she stammered. “How will you ever make a difference?”

The neighbor paused. She bent down, picked up a single starfish, looked at it, and gently tossed it back to the ocean. “There. To that one starfish, I just made all the difference in the world.” 

The child’s eyes lit up. She picked up a starfish, and threw it to the sea.

None of us have the power to change the course of history. No one can control the future. But we can make a difference in one another’s lives. Every generous act, every kind word, every patient breath makes a difference. 

One area we can all change in life is how we communicate. 

Think of the times when someone has really listened, offered a few words of appreciation, encouragement or reassurance. This can make the difference between sinking into despair and finding the strength to go on. 

Even when there are difficult things to say, we can find a way to speak with courage and love. 

Each year at this time I offer a special, live, 12-week online course, Say What You Mean. We go through my book chapter by chapter, learning how to make a difference in our world – one starfish at a time.

I invite you to join me. Every class includes time for questions and coaching. There are CEs for therapists and other mental health professionals, nurses, teachers, and many others. We’ve even set up discounts for those who register with a friend or small group, and scholarships for anyone who needs one.

If you want to learn and practice together, I’d love to see you there. You can learn more and sign up on my website here

Hope you can join me, 

Oren

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