The Ripple Effect: Small Actions Lead to Big Changes


I stand on my deck and throw a stone into the glass-like water of the small pond outside my house.  There’s an instant impact, a circular ripple that spreads out towards the edges of the pond.

It’s like the impact that we have on the others around us every day: you never really know how your actions, big or small, impact the world and people around you. Like…

  • The smile you share with someone on the street
  • A hug between you and a friend you haven’t seen in a while
  • Training to climb a mountain or run a marathon
  • Getting your GED or taking a college class
  • Having a baby for someone who can’t

That smile that you shared with someone today?

It made their day.

That is what it took for them to realize that they mattered, that they were not invisible to the world.  They have been slowly losing their self-confidence over the past month…feeling unworthy and unloved.  It was the smile that you shared that gave them a boost.

They went home feeling uplifted.  Like life may be worth living after all.

That hug that you gave to a friend today?

It was the first sense of warmth and kindness that they have felt in over a year.

The physical touch of a hug made their blood start to flow warm again.  They have been feeling lonely, sad, and withdrawing from people lately…

Why was it today that you bumped into each other at the store?  It had been years since you last saw them.  And it was YOUR strong, compassionate hug that was just what they needed to let them know someone cared.

That training program you’re on?

It has inspired the mom who lives across the street.  She hasn’t moved in years!

She’s been watching and admiring you from the window, lacing up your sneakers, smiling, stretching and moving your body.  She admires your drive and dedication.

You had told her about your goal a couple months ago and asked her to join you.  She said she couldn’t ever do that, but now, because of you, she wants to set her own goal and move with you…

That class that you debated signing up for?

After all that deliberation in your head, the voices telling you it would be too hard, or that you wouldn’t be able to do it, you decided to take the bull by the horns, bite the bullet… jump into your fear, and you did it.

You successfully finished.  You are proud, and because of what you accomplished you have been the perfect model for your son, daughter, cousin, sister…Giving them all hope that anything is possible, even when they think it is not.

Helping that woman have a baby of her own

The woman that you met who was looking for a woman who would be a surrogate mother for her.

She had lost her uterus to cancer, and desperately wanted a child.  Because of you, she and her husband have a family to call their own, a dream come true and a gift that lasts a lifetime.

You are more than you know.  The events and experiences of our lives are like ripples a stone makes in the water.  They last long after the stone sinks to the bottom.

You’ve just read about how I see the ripple effect work. Over the next few months on our blog, you’ll hear from others on the Green Mountain staff about how they see the ripple effect in their lives. It may be about others; it may be about themselves. Regardless, it will be about understanding and appreciating ourselves.

I can’t wait to see what’s in store for us!

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About the Author

Anne Poirier, BS, CSCS, CIEC

Former Program Director at Green Mountain | Program Director at Shaping Perspectives - A Woman’s Way to Joy

By sharing experiences and lessons learned through her writing, Anne’s goal is to first, help women finally feel free enough to break away from their dieting chains and learn how to listen and honor their body’s internal cues. Second, to discover and experience more joy in moving their bodies and finally, understand the importance of taking time for themselves. Her philosophy of strengthening the connections among participants’ minds, hearts and bodies fits perfectly with Green Mountain’s philosophy of lasting change through comprehensive, integrative health programming. Anne is the Program Director at Shaping Perspectives - A Woman’s Way to Joy and former Program Director at Green Mountain at Fox Run.

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