The power of ANYone

Writing earlier this week about The Power of We for Blog Action Day has caused me to think about The Power of One. As I sat down to write, up popped the story of Talia Leman and her new book.

Have you heard about Talia Leman? Talia is a 17-year-old Iowa girl who has set out to change the world. Her philanthropic efforts started when she was 10. The Hurricane Katrina tragedy that left almost a million people homeless struck her heart and rather than collect candy that Halloween, she collected money. The “Today Show” picked up the story and children across the country joined her cause.

The $312 that Talia collected on her Halloween rounds that year was compounded by donations from local companies like Hy-Vee to increase her total contribution to hurricane relief to $250,000.  The total collected by kids that year for hurricane victims was report to be an amazing $10 million.

Since then, Talia has formed a non-profit called RandomKid based on her philosophy that any random kid can make a difference. And now she’s written a book – A Random Book About the Power of ANYone – published by Free Press, a division of Simon & Schuster and released earlier this month.

If you dig very far into Talia’s story, you’ll see Talia’s had a whole lot of encouragement and assistance from a whole lot of people, so her story demonstrates the Power of We. But she also demonstrates the Power of One person as well as anyone I’ve read about lately.

One person has an idea. One person has the passion and the perseverance to push forward through adversity. One person figures out how to rally others.

Do you have a good story of the Power of One person? I’d love to hear it.

Getting it done – Together

Working together for affordable housing

October 15 is Blog Action Day, a day when bloggers worldwide are encouraged to write on the same theme. This year, the theme is “The Power of We.”  In fact, the very act of writing today is an example of the topic – thousands of bloggers all bringing their voices and reader attention to the good that happens when people work together.

As I reflected on the theme, it seemed to me that most of what I do benefits from a group effort.

In May, I took part in my first Habitat For Humanity build. In one day, a group of enthusiastic volunteers and a few staff gathered and helped move another family toward the goal of having their own home. In a few weeks, a once-empty lot held a brand new, move-in ready home. The family had worked hard, but they couldn’t achieve this dream on their own.

In Des Moines alone, dozens of families will move into homes they helped build, that they’ve been schooled in how to maintain, that they’ll pay for, because a lot of folks came together to help make it happen. Here’s more on my Habitat experience.

Another example. I published my first book in 2008. Yes, I wrote it, but it is conceivable I wouldn’t hold that book in my hands today without the support and encouragement of many others. Workshop leaders. My writing buddies. My mother and sisters. Two years ago, I converted that book to ebook format and uploaded it to Barnes & Noble and Amazon. Surely the ebook craze would carry my book along with it. Right?

You know what? Not so much.  Because I put it up and I didn’t do anything else. In the best months, a dozen ebooks sold. Most months far fewer.

Then, this spring, in anticipation of publishing another book, and recognizing that social media just probably was here to stay, I reached out to people who knew a whole lot more than I do about blogs and Facebook and Twitter. With the help of groups like World Literary Cafe and individuals like Rachelle Ayala, I learned about social media promotion. And what do you know? When I tapped into the networks of many indie authors helping each other, teaching, sharing, promoting, my life in ebook land took a very positive turn. Not a dozen in a month. Dozens in a day.

Whether I work in an office building, in my home office, or on a community project, for me, there always has been more power in a group of us working together than me thinking I can do it all on my own.

So there you go, The Power of We. If you’re into the Power of We, leave a comment with your most powerful “We” moment. If you’re a blogger, join the Blog Action Day initiative and spread the word about the Power of We.