What Ripple Are You Making?

You can never underestimate the power of a single act of kindness, a single random thought, a single decision, a single…well, anything.

Today reminded me that a small effort or a tiny adjustment or a three-inch piece of metal is often all that's needed to make a significant difference.

I'm certain we all remember being a kid and throwing a stone into the water? And how the stone made ripples and more ripples? I was always fascinated by the ever-expanding circles.

Those far-reaching circles happen not just on water, but in life.

It’s real. The RIPPLE EFFECT is real.

A ripple effect is a reality when, like ripples expanding across the water, an occurrence happens and an effect or impact from the moment it happened can be followed outwards (in ripples).

For instance...here are a few examples of the multitude of possible ripple effect causing occurrences we can all think of:

In business, assignment of offices causes ripples up and down the corporate ladder from the disgruntled employee who was not assigned the office of their choosing, to the pumped up junior exec who feels the new office is a sign of achievement and power, to the newly assigned support staff, the conversations in the lunch room, the improved organization of leadership, and more. And each of these ripple effects ripple into home lives, personal relationships, office chat, and beyond.

In families, the purchase of new home has a far reaching ripple effect:  kids at new schools, months of unpacking on top of normal daily activities, Dad might have a new job, making new friends, extra expenses...on and on. And each of these ripples has its own ripple effect on camaraderie, health, budget, life balance, time management, and more.

In personal lives, everything we do, everything that is done to us, everything we see done, everything we imagine, everything we miss...everything has a ripple effect that ripples into the lives of everyone our life touches.

The RIPPLE EFFECT is real. And it's worth paying attention to. It will help us be kinder, safer, and more present in our lives.

Today, we experienced not one, but four  occurrences with far-reaching ripple effects.

Let me explain.

The first was something we could not have anticipated, the second was a complete accident and the third was a purposeful action, but the effect was unexpected.

In life, in work, at home…every thing we do, everything that happens to us and everything that happens to those around us makes a difference, sometimes more than we think.

I’ll be talking more about this in the coming weeks, but in this post I am focusing on our ripples from today.

Our first RIPPLE was felt when Hal climbed under our 10,000 Beds RV "Big Blue" (scheduled to head across the nation this week) and discovered a missing bolt in the suspension. The bolt is critical to the safety of our travel #ontheroad4recovery in Big Blue.

I could take several paragraphs to reference the past year plus of dealing with entities, personalities and corporate legalities regarding our RV, but I will spare you the details. Instead, we will focus on one three-inch bolt.

The single (missing) bolt is a three-inch piece of metal. Our cross-country trip would have brought us in touch with thousands of people; we would have touched lives, changed perceptions, awarded scholarships. Instead, we are now attempting to have the RV repaired. And we are back in a holding pattern....

A single (missing) 3” bolt in Cedar City, Utah rippled to affect thousands of people across the nation.

How could we have known a single bolt was missing if Hal hadn't dropped into the dirt to check the underbelly of our RV. He did the right thing, was proactive, and saved us a lot of grief and a lot of money. His effort is now rippling through our personal lives as well, in a positive way.

The RIPPLE EFFECT is real.

The second RIPPLE was caused by a simple act of kindness. Early this morning I ran into a friend while running errands. She looked distressed. I wrapped my arms around her and hugged her closely. I felt her arms wrap around me in return. She whispered, “You have no idea how much your hug means to me. My husband has chemo tomorrow and I am so exhausted. Your hug will get me through today and tomorrow and more.”

A single hug rippled into my friend’s heart and gave her the extra “something” she needed, for today, for tomorrow’s chemo, and into the future.

How could I have known this? I couldn't have. But something felt off and a hug is easy to give. I'm so grateful a single unplanned act had the impact it did. And now I am paying more attention when I talk with people, so my small action is now rippling through my life and spilling into others lives as I attempt to be more present and mindful of them.

The RIPPLE EFFECT is real.

The third RIPPLE was a total accident. No one would purposely shoot a nail into a wrist with a nail gun. But it happened.

A three-inch nail was accidentally shot through two bones in my husband’s wrist when board he was nailing split in two and the nail was affected and ricocheted into his wrist. Thankfully, the nail missed veins and arteries.

So, what was the first ripple in this scenario? The board splitting.  The split jogged the nail from its alignment and sent it in another direction - into Hal's wrist.

A single 3” nail ALMOST rippled to cause terrible damage to my husband’s ability to do everything he loves- play the guitar, work on cars, complete home projects, carry his grandkids, use his keyboard, hold hands with me, and more. But his two big wrist bones stopped it. Who knew? No one.

How could Hal have known this might happen? He couldn't have. He had taken every precaution for safety (he holds a safety record for his 25-years at Southern California Edison, for not just him, but his crews). And still, it happened.

Life happens. And then ripples happen.

His final project on our remodel is now stalled and we are not out #ontheroad4recovery because at this point in time, Hal can't safely and securely drive his beloved F350 pulling "BigBlue". Sure, he'd be fine driving normally, but if an emergency situation happened, when he needs to take the hitch off, or put it on, when he needs to make the inevitable repair...he would not be able to; no heavy lifting to begin with. It will take a bit for the wrist to heal.  So many ripples.

The RIPPLE EFFECT is real.

Our fourth RIPPLE was in the form of support from HUGS, a corporate sponsor of 10,000 Beds. Their donations support our scholarship program. Today we received their contribution for almost exactly the amount needed to provide a single treatment scholarship to an individual without resources seeking help for addiction.

A single donation will change a person's life, and the lives of their family and friends, and on and on and on. It will provide an opportunity for an addiction treatment provider to step up and donate a scholarship to help someone.

A single donation ripples through the lives of the individual, the employees at the treatment program, Hal and I, and everyone we speak to personally and through social media.

A single donation ripples far and changes lives, not just one life.

The RIPPLE EFFECT is real.

Never underestimate the potential impact of a single act or occurrence.

As we each perform our jobs, serve in the community, support our families and just go about daily life:

  • let’s take time for the small kindnesses,
  • let’s watch for the seemingly minimal things that can cause a ripple effect for good or bad,
  • let's be extra vigilant and aware,
  • let's be observant of what ripples are impacting us and those we love, we work with, we care about, and those we don't even know.

Three inches of metal can be a weapon of destruction. A hug can change a someone's day.

We are all stones in the river of life. What RIPPLE are you making?

"Doing good can change us from the inside out, then ripple out far and beyond our personal circle to create positive change throughout the world."  - JK


Jean Krisle is a motivational keynote speaker and Founder of 10,000Beds, Inc. a 501c3 nonprofit organization. The mission of 10,000 Beds is to connect those seeking help for addiction to those who are willing to help through donated addiction treatment scholarships from vetted treatment programs throughout the United States.

As a keynote speaker, life coach and consultant, Jean's goal is to provide inspiration and instruction to individuals, leaders, teams and organizations. Jean donates a portion of her speaking fees to the work and mission of 10,000 Beds. The mother of a son in recovery, she comes from a place of gratitude in all she does. 

Jean and her husband Hal have spent much the past three years #OnTheRoad4Recovery to elevate awareness around addiction, change perceptions of recovery, and inspire exceleration in reaching goals.

You can reach Jean at jean@10000beds.org.

You can also support the life-changing mission of 10,000 Beds by making a contribution at 10000beds.org

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