How Can I Make A Positive Difference On As Many People As Possible?

One of my favorite things about being the Executive Director of Leadership Siouxland is the opportunity to help class participants find their passion and become involved in making a positive difference in the Siouxland community.  

Our November session is traditionally devoted to educating the class on several mission-driven organizations within Siouxland – their mission, their impact, and how people can get involved. An assignment before the session is to view the YouTube TedTalk by Adam Braun, founder of Pencils of Promise, entitled “Five Phrases That Can Change Your Life.” His presentation always inspires me and guides me on the key points that can make me a better person, and a better contributor to our community.    

“How can you create the most positive impact on as many lives as possible?” is one of Adam’s phrases that encourages us to think about what we can do, and how we can get involved.  At our November 2 session, our class heard from eight agencies – New Perspectives, Inc.; Siouxland Soup Kitchen; Hope Street; Life Skills Training Center; CAASA; Unity in the Community; Simple Life; and Girl Scouts of Greater Iowa. If you are not familiar with these great organizations and what they do to help Siouxlanders have a better life, I encourage you to take the time to visit their websites and discover the impact they are making every day.

Six different project “teams” were formed from this year’s Leadership Siouxland class of 37 individuals.  Each team will partner with one of the agencies that presented on November 2, or another organization within Siouxland, and work together between December and May to complete a project that will meet the organization’s needs. Working together as a team with a shared passion is a great way for the class to understand and utilize each team member’s skills and talents, and better understand themselves and what they are capable of when using their innate talents.  

One of the goals of the nine-month curriculum is to cultivate community involvement by program graduates. Many class members are unfamiliar with the process of becoming a board member, or how to find a board that “fits” them. “Get out of your comfort zone” is another of Adam Braun’s phrases.  Becoming a board member is often outside of a participant’s comfort zone, and therefore helps them grow as an individual and a leader. The class is provided with resources that inform them on the types of boards, board governance, habits of effective board members, and questions to consider if they are considering joining a board. Leadership Siouxland strives to equip participants with tools to help them on their personal leadership journey, and their journey to help others.

My favorite of Adam Braun’s five phrases is this one – “Make the little decisions with your head, and the big ones with your heart.” If we listen to our heart, we can find our passion; if we find our passion, we can make a positive difference and leave a legacy we can be proud of.

Peggy Smith is the Executive Director of Leadership Siouxland, an organization devoted to developing leaders who make a positive difference in the Siouxland community.

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