If You Want to Make the World a Better Place . . .

Quick! Can you complete this song lyric in the title of this blog?

“. . . take a look at yourself and then make a change.” These lyrics were written by Glen Ballard and Siedah Garrett for the song Man in the Mirror which was famously sung by Michael Jackson. Every time I hear the song, it always leads me to the question: How would our lives, our community, be different if on one day, we all made one change in our life?

Change can be as big or small as a person wants it to be. It can be private or make a huge public statement. It can be for yourself or for others. But the bottom line is, we can all choose to embrace change. One of my all-time favorite books is Transitions: Making Sense of Life’s Changes by William Bridges. In it, Bridges tells us that life changes and transitions are inevitable, and can cause a lot of fear. By understanding that there are three phases to change–Ending, The Neutral Zone, and The New Beginning–we can learn from and embrace the transitions in our lives. To change, there must first be an ending, followed by a fallow period–a time-out where we recharge, re-examine, and grow–leading to a new beginning, where we burst forth with new direction and purpose. I used to have a tremendous fear of change, and this book helped me to understand that, wanted or unwanted, I needed to embrace it. Now I consider myself a Change Agent, an advocate for looking at things differently and encouraging growth and forward movement.

The theme of the 2012 GR Reads program is “Life Intersected”and the ten books we selected all contain the thread of change. In Michael Moore’s autobiography Here Comes Trouble, he shares his journey of bringing about change early in his career. Say what you want about Michael Moore, but he is a Change Agent extraordinaire. He has spent his life facilitating change. You may disagree with his tactics, but he knows how to bring awareness to big issues and create dialog around them.

As part of GR Reads, we are making July 28 a Day of Change. We are encouraging people to do one thing, take one step, towards change. It can be for yourself, your community, another person, a cause you believe in. You can share it with the world, or keep it private. We would love it if you would share your change with us on our social media pages, or on our blog, but that is up to you. On July 28 take a few moments to reflect, think about how a change could make a difference, and then do it. Make a change.

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