Dominoes Episode Eleven

Charley continued having his interns develop insights of stories of people who made a difference. The next set of stories was going to focus on the development of a Believer’s Network. For the interns, he thought this might be a tough sell. The interns were very self-assured and confident. They may find it hard to trust others to work with them on the difference they wanted to make. He was surprised when Joyce volunteered to do the next story. “Is it ok if I tell the story of someone I know personally?” she asked. Charley was delighted.

Jerry is a truck driver. He owns his own truck and carries food products from the midwest states to cities on both coasts. As an independent driver, he can set his own delivery schedule. Throughout his travels, he would often be dismayed at the forgotten places in America that had not prospered. Many of these communities were “food deserts.” There was no retail grocery store for miles. The only source of food was a local food bank.

Jerry wanted to help. He worked with his client food companies to see if they would donate food for the communities he saw on his travels. It didn’t take long to fill up his truck with food. Then he took two weeks of vacation to make food deliveries to food banks. He decided to stay a few days in each community to get to know the people who came to the food bank. Their stories were heart breaking, and Jerry was overwhelmed with their gratitude for the food he brought.

On his way home, Jerry visited a truck stop, met up with fellow food haulers, and shared his story. The next thing he knew, other truckers decided to join him. It didn’t take long for truck drivers across America to join with Jerry in providing food for those in need.

Jerry was an inspiration to others. But he had no platform or organization behind him.  It was just an idea. Inspiring others to become believers did not require a position of authority or a “pulpit” to speak from. Those who are successful at inspiring others to believe in making a difference do so out of the genuineness of their character.

Jerry’s idea spread throughout the trucking community by word of mouth. Many of those who were inspired by Jerry’s actions never actually met him. It was the caring nature of what Jerry did that inspired them.

Charley was really moved by Jerry’s story and asked the interns to reflect on what they learned from it. He captured some of the key reflections:

 “There’s only so much we can do alone.”

Showing the way is the first domino, but for other dominoes to fall you have to inspire others.”

“To be effective, a believer’s network must eventually go viral.”

“Story framing is key to engaging a believer’s network.”

 This was the first time that Charley had seen the interns tie together the different phases in the making a difference strategy. For him this was a watershed moment of understanding.

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“Life is not easy for any of us. But what of that? We must have perseverance and above all confidence in ourselves. We must believe that we are gifted for something, and that this thing, at whatever cost, must be attained.”– Marie Curie (Nobel Prize winner)

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