The Power of One
Advocacy should not be a popularity contest.
I’ve said it before but it bears repeating, numbers do not define us. Yet, we live in a world where we are constantly chasing them. From the numbers on the scale to the numbers in our bank account and the number of likes we get on social media, we are fixated on numbers to define success.
All we ever want is more.
So what if I told you the only number that matters to me is one? I don’t look at it as the loneliest number. In fact, I believe it is the most powerful number.
This belief helps me keep a clear perspective in my advocacy work. If I approached things with the expectation of changing the entire world with one book, one post, or one event then I would set myself up for frustration and disappointment.
Sure, I want to reach larger audiences. The more people who can hear my story the better. But rather than focus on changing the entire world overnight, I focus on changing ONE person’s world at a time.
See, there is my favorite number again!
I recently spoke to a group of two. The organizer apologized numerous times for the low turnout, but there was no need to. I delivered my presentation the same way I would if there were a hundred folks in attendance. Following the event, a young man came up to me and began to share his story. I felt the relief in his voice. He thanked me for coming to talk with their group and shared that my story helped him feel like his struggles were valid. He said he no longer felt alone.
That’s what it’s all about! I’d rather speak to a group of two and have that experience than speak to a group of 1,000 and make no impact at all.
I didn’t write Starving for Survival to become a New York Times Bestseller. I don’t post on social media with the intention of garnering thousands of likes. I’m not discouraged by low turnouts at speaking events. The only thing that matters to me is making at least one meaningful impact in someone’s life.
Popularity contests are not good for mental health, so why should we incorporate them into our awareness and advocacy campaigns?
To the awareness organizations, please don’t ignore those of us with stories to share just because we are not a celebrity or have tens of thousands of followers. Those numbers do not dictate the value of our message or the impact it can have.
And to my fellow advocates, please don’t get discouraged if your posts aren’t receiving the same amount of likes as that gym bro who flashes his six-pack. Trust in the power of one and keep going.
This is not a contest.