The 2020 Youth Summit communique leaves you feeling small. And I use this word not for want of another one, but because it's an accurate representation of what it truly means to be part of something bigger, like a national vision. But, contrary to what you might think, feeling small is not vulnerable nor disempowering and we shouldn't be worried about feeling that way.
Too many people think that you have to be big to have an impact, as if it's the magnitude of your societal or leadership position that gives worth to your contribution. Overcoming this way of thinking is the biggest hurdle to reforming our nation.
But why is smallness powerful?
Smallness is powerful because it's inherently genuine. Volunteering is one of the most personally demanding forms of engagement because it is based on involving yourself in the problem. Government policy decisions are made at a desk in tall office towers with paperwork and stake-holders in suits, and whilst a necessary mechanism for implementing broad sweeping change, these bureaucrats can only do so much. Grass roots involvement is important because it breaks down social barriers and because we see people rather than problems and create relationships rather than deals.
Smallness is powerful because the change that it generates is contagious. By existing outside constraints of formality and procedure, a positive impact can travel far. Many people assume that small changes aren't visible so they don't accomplish much, but changing the way people think and how they live depends on truly personal engagement, not on what the law says.
A commitment to involve yourself with people, to be willing to change and be changed is honest and organic leadership. Smallness is inspiring - embrace it!
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© 2008. First published on actnow.com.au
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