You Matter. Your Efforts Matter… More Than You May Ever Know.
Have you ever wondered whether what you are doing is making any difference? Or if the world is a better place with you in it? As a counselor and life coach, I know that many clients wonder whether their career choices are making an impact in the world. If this is true of you, please know you are not alone in questioning your significance in the workforce.
My friend, Ambra, has been struggling. She’s a Denver psychologist who works with severely traumatized children and their families. Every day, she is fighting against an ocean of pain and darkness to save the lives of children. It’s like she’s in a life raft of support and compassion, straining to haul dozens of drowning, desperate kids on board. She knows that if she gets them into the boat, they will have a better future. But the boat is leaky, she is only one person, and she can’t save them all. She agonizes over the ones she watches slip under: the ones that seem broken beyond repair, or who are trapped in toxic inter-generational systems of depravity that are too strong for her to break. Some days she doubts herself. Lately she feels like she’s losing the battle.
I think of Ambra as I look at the photo on my kitchen counter, the one propped up beside a small painting that I recently bought at a fundraiser. It’s of a proud young woman, Gayla, holding up the painting that I now own. She’s a disabled orphan who lives in a group home in Armenia. Her painting has rosy pinks and blues glowing in a mystical tree of life on a summer’s day. It’s beautiful. I plan to hang it in my second child’s room, should I ever be so lucky to have another.
The only reason that this painting exists is because someone working in an Armenian orphanage cared enough to try and start a group home for disabled, orphaned adults to move into after they aged out of the state orphanage. Their efforts rescued Gayla from the dirty, cold psychiatric hospital that would have been her only other option, and gave her a home. They raised donations from kind strangers to have an art teacher come in to teach weaving and painting as well as buy her art supplies. These individuals were doing more than just their job; they were following their passion to make a difference in the world through their work.
Now Gayla gets to sit by a sunny window in a big house with a tree outside. She is with people who love her. She has a teddy bear on her bed in a room she shares with her friends. She is happy because of the love that surrounds her. Her happiness ripples out through her heart to her hands to the paper, to me. It makes me feel happy to think about the possibility that a baby — my baby — might someday gaze up from a crib and absorb the beautiful message of love that came straight from Gayla’s heart. It brings me hope.
The efforts of all the volunteers who helped Gayla have rippled out far beyond their original intention. They are now touching my life in a way that they probably never even considered. The truth is that everything we do rings an energetic bell that reverberates into the lives of others, even though we may not understand how. Our efforts matter.
For every child that Ambra couldn’t reach, swirled away into the darkness, she’s lifted countless others into her boat without even realizing it. Just the fact that she cares enough to try matters. Her presence in young lives allows them to experience small moments of love and goodness which shifts something inside of them. The simple gift of time in a safe space with a kind person is like a soothing melody that counters the harsh ringing of abuse that has been echoing in their families for generations. I believe that she is starting a new vibration in the psyches of those she has helped that will reverberate and expand into subtle positive changes throughout their life. This impact may even ripple out into the lives of their eventual children, and their children’s children.
Long after Ambra’s time in this world has ended, babies will be born with more peace and stability in their lives because of her efforts today, even though she feels like she is failing in the present. She matters, even if she doesn’t always feel like it.
The World is a Better Place with You In It
This is most certainly true for you. Even though you may never witness the fruit of the seeds that you plant today, it doesn’t mean that your efforts don’t matter. Everything you do that is loving, generous, and helpful ripples out into the world, touching other people. This is what makes the world a better place. The simple act of attempting to be decent matters. Every time you practice patience, compassion, and love, it rings like a bell and spreads out to people that you may never meet. Your goodness can leave a legacy for people who benefit from your kindness in mysterious and unexpected ways that you may never know.
Remember, if you find yourself struggling with satisfaction in your job, perhaps you can examine all the ways you really do make a difference to the people around you. Or perhaps this dissatisfaction is an invitation to evaluate your job and get some career coaching. Whether it is becoming unstuck, or figuring out how to do what you love, I want to help empower you to design the life you want. While getting ahead in your career is important, the most significant aspect of your job is the fact that you are there, making a difference in the world.
Every moment is an opportunity to be fair, kind, and merciful. Every day is a new chance for you to be a dynamic center of love that touches other people. The world is already a better place because of your efforts. The world is a better place with you in it.
With love and gratitude,
Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby
P.S. If you are interested, you can learn more about The Society for Orphaned Armenian Relief (SOAR) at https://www.soar-us.org/
P.P.S. You can learn more about the practice of Dr. Ambra Born, the best damn child psychologist in Northern Colorado, at www.reachinghope.org
Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby is the founder and clinical director of Growing Self. She is a licensed psychologist, a licensed marriage and family therapist, and a board-certified coach, as well as the author of “Exaholics: Breaking Your Addiction to Your Ex Love,” and the host of The Love, Happiness & Success Podcast.