Use Your Influence

Several years back, Pope Francis caught the world’s attention by speaking out on climate change. More to the point, he was speaking out about the fundamental human crisis of which he sees climate change as but a symptom. (I share this view, by the way, and I bet lot of you did too, even before he said it.) The Pope is able to use his high position to get his message out to millions of people in a flash.

Now, in this great news event of the Pope speaking out on something that really matters, there’s a bonus lesson for each and every one of us. You and me. We’re not the Pope, but within some sphere of our lives (our family, a circle of friends, a colleague or two), we each have as much influence as the Pope. It might be ten people or five or even just one, but each and every one of us has some circle where we literally have as much influence as the Pope — or more. So, my challenge to you today (and from now on) is, Use your influence to speak up about something that matters. Be your own pope. Even if your sphere of influence doesn’t include any people other than yourself … then, be the pope of your own mind. Issue an encyclical to yourself to remove one veil of self-deception and muster the courage to take action. Choose to out yourself to yourself about something that matters.

The Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said, “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” I also think that our lives begin to really BEGIN, the day we START speaking up about things that matter. Even one little thing. Pick one today. And then keep going.

I love you, my readers, and thank you for joining me on this journey! (By the way, each time you speak up on social media, or talk to a neighbor, or write your elected officials, or write a letter to the editor — you are speaking as the “pope” of your many unseen followers who you may never meet or count, but they are there and they’ve been waiting to hear from you. Your words could be that final piece they needed to hear in order to go into action, either by joining an existing tide of forward motion or by forming a new one.)