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Press Start: Lead an Empowered Life as a Clinical Laboratorian

Never Discount the Power of One

Published January 26, 2014 2:28 PM by Glen McDaniel

We seem to have lots to complain about in this profession: low pay, lack of recognition, a flat career ladder and encroachment on our scope of practice for starters. Next to pointing out our ills the runner up theme is the mantra things will not improve until “they” fix it. Who are they?


Depending on whom you ask, the real influential people who can make a difference are professional organizations, employers, pathologists, regulatory agencies and, possibly, the government. Maybe if we formed a group or put together a petition, then we could influence the real powerbrokers. Notice it is never, “What can I do?”


The proof that one person can in fact make a difference has been driven home to us over the years. The road of history is paved with examples of heroic individuals who made a difference. Even if they eventually influenced a large group, they often started alone with an idea or belief and then ventured forth while it was still unpopular. One person can indeed make a difference.


This idea of the Power of One was demonstrated to me recently. The two-man bobsled Jamaican team qualified to participate in the Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia.


 How someone in a tiny tropical island conceived of creating a team capable of competing against world class athletes in a winter sport is a miracle in itself. In any event the team found itself so strapped for cash that there was the real possibility they would not be able to make it to the gamesThen one sports fan in Washington, DC decided to use the magic of social media and start a fundraising campaign on the crowdfunding site Crowdtilt.


The news quickly went viral being shared by thousands on social media and covered by major news organizations worldwide.


Cash started rolling in and within a couple of days the campaign had netted almost $130, 000. I emailed both the fan who started the campaign and the CEO of Crowdtilt  and they both said they were blown away by the response. All they had going in was a passion for the cause and a belief that they should do something, rather than waiting for others.


Think for a minute; what were the odds of success without a big corporation or government (“they”) stepping in and helping? The existence of the bobsled team, their qualifying for the Olympics, one individual starting a fundraiser, the creation of  crowdfunding sites like Crowdtilt; all speak to the Power of One.


Success is always great, but it is instructive to remember that many times the most phenomenal feats have been achieved not through a large group of others, but simply by each one of us doing something to start the ball rolling. We all can influence, even  if not totally transform, simply by harnessing the Power of One.


Mt McDaniel, I see that you are in Atlanta. Although it does not relate to healthcare I am sure you are aware of our snow storm last week and how bad it was with people on the roads for up to 24 hours.

Some cars were abandoned and people walked miles to get to shelter or to get home. I was so touched by all the kindness of strangers.

One by one or 2 by 2 people went out and helped. They did not wait for the police or the government officials. they provided water, hot chocolate and food. They allowed people to have a couch in their house overnight.

I had read your article before and I immediately thought about it. I came back and just read it again and I agree 100% that ONE person does have power to make a difference.

Thank you for your great writing over the years and thanks for reminding us about the power of one.

Latonya M February 2, 2014 5:46 PM
Decatur GA

I remember that move Cool Runnings about the first Jamaican bobsled team.  I thinnk the team embodies the spirit of the Olympic games very well.  We can all learn a lesson from that kind of spirit.

Mervyn T January 27, 2014 2:58 PM
Baltimore MD

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