Make a Difference: Your Actions Count

Many of us have good ideas.  We want to make a difference, but the action needed seems too big and the ideas get tucked away. Then we feel frustrated, angry, and depressed because the problems did not get solved.   Taking action to make a difference is important.  With the many challenges before us, -- unemployment, declining resources, and the need to rebuild our local communities, we cannot wait for an expert’s solution or a leader’s permission to act.  Others may not know the situation as yourself.  Sometimes you know just what you have to do, and may have no other authority than the good intentions

Everyday Heroic Acts

Lifetree News
Creating Prosperity with Harmony
Alice Vlietstra, Ph.D.

February, 2011
Everyday Heroic Acts

In this Issue
   1. Welcome!
   2. Inspired Action Counts
   3. Story Power
   4. Strength-Based Co-Creativity
   5. Upcoming Events

1. Welcome

Many of us have good ideas. We want to make a difference, but the action needed seems too big and the ideas get tucked away.  Then we feel frustrated, angry and depressed because the problems did not get solved. Today, more and more people are taking action to make a difference. It is spreading like wildfire. We see it in the actions of the protesters in Egypt and the Mideast, and in the United States with the protestors in Wisconsin.

I believe the movement is spreading because people are waking up to a deeper truth. Ordinary people taking action has an effect. When our actions stand for our deeper values and principles, as justice, opportunity, fairness, and dignity, it serves a critical purpose.  It helps to define and defend who we really are.  Then ordinary people become heroes and heroines. This e-newsletter focuses on the importance of everyday heroic acts, and what you can do.  

2. Inspired Action Counts

Taking action to make a difference is important. With the many challenges before us, global warming, unemployment, declining resources, we cannot always wait for an expert or leader’s permission to act.  Sometimes, you just know what you have to do and may have no other authority than the good intentions and caring in your heart. It may not be the most perfect solution.  Still, it is the best you can do. You face disappointments and setbacks and still, you find the courage to keep on.

You may not even be aware of the impact that it has. Yet, when aligned with your deeper character strengths it has an impact because it serves the greater good. When you do so, you access a higher power for life and you become a hero for just being who you are.  Research shows it enhances the happiness and well being of us all.  This is much better than complaining, feeling overwhelmed and depressed.  I call this a heroic act

3. Story Power

When you take action it is important to share your personal story. Often we hear statistics and information on the need to make a change, only to find it overwhelming. Other times we may feel guilty for not doing anything. When you take action and tell your story, it is important because it shows it CAN be done. Even more it gives concrete ideas on HOW to do it. This inspires and fuels the action of others.

I once worked with a lady who came to me for serious depression. When she discovered her strength of generosity, she decided to help with volunteer projects at work. At first only a few volunteered, but soon it caught on, and many others began volunteering too. She got over her depression and made new friends. Her efforts and those of her co-workers helped to create a more humane environment.

We learn and become inspired by each other’s actions. When we share our stories, it amplifies our efforts. It gives us ideas and opportunities to reflect on the deeper truth. This creates more opportunities for change and builds the grass roots community.

4. Strength Based Co-Creativity

Creating change takes many different strategies and styles.  Different people have different strengths. If there is an area where you are weak, find others in that area that are strong.  For example, I am weak in technology.  I was most grateful when I found a colleague in my local area, Craig Caesar, to help me with my website.  I discovered that we shared common values and interest in the community.  Rather than a top down, “find the expert” approach, his co-creative approach helped me to better use my skills and resources.  I brought in my areas of strength while he provided invaluable consultation on technology.  

Many times we can learn technology from the internet, but takes more than the internet, face book, and twitter to get things done.  It takes the expertise and talent of interactive live contact too.  I find that the bonds of real people in the community are stronger than the ties of the virtual world. It is the direct community contact and the deeper bonds that helps us to feel supported enough to take meaningful risks for our values.

Every month I host a teleconference in which I interview a guest on their character strengths and how they used them to create change.  Last month Craig Caesar shared how he uses his strength of creativity in his unique approach to website work.  You can find the replay at my website.

5. Upcoming Events

On March 15, I will be interviewing Barbara Altman, author of her newly released book, "Cry Depression, Celebrate Recovery."  We will explore an approach to personal growth that rejects the use of labeling terminology in favor of a language of possibilities, hope, individual character strengths, and personal longings directed towards worthwhile goals.  Join us for the interview  -
March 15, 9:00-9:30 AM.  Phone 760-569-9000, Access Code 308311#

On March 26 I will be speaking on “Wise Women’s Happiness” at the Celebrating Women Conference. I will be helping women to find happiness and joy by tapping into their feminine power.  Power is the capacity to act. Feminine power in establishing healthy relating is critical for our well being, as well as for the well being of our families, communities, and even the world.  It balances out top-down power. You will learn how this kind of power can build resilience and increase happiness in your life today.  You can sign up at

Warm Regards,

Dr. Alice




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