A guest post by Joseph Ferraro, a Leadership Certificate Series facilitator for Discovery Leadership

When everyone hears the word “leader”, people that come to mind are presidents, famous business people, and activists who gave their lives to for a cause that changed the world. It is true that these people are amazing leaders, but what about the rest of us? Are these people the only ones that can be considered good leaders? The answer is no. Most of the change that occurs in our society is made by everyday leaders, regular people who decide to step up, take charge, and make small differences in the lives of the people around them. Even the most seemingly insignificant act can have a resounding impact on the lives of people we don’t even know.
In Discovery, we watched a TED Talk on the very first day titled “Everyday Leadership.” In this video, Drew Dudley discusses the importance of being an everyday leader. Some people believe that if they are not making a huge change, they are not doing anything at all. The video counters this idea by explaining the importance of “lollipop moments”. In the video, Drew explains that when he was in college, there was this girl who was terrified and was convinced before she even began that college was not for her. Then, right before she was about to leave, Drew came out, handed a lollipop to the boy next to her, and told him to give it to the beautiful girl next to him. Everyone laughed, and she said that it was that moment that made her realize that she could do this and that she was home; a few years later, that boy became her husband. This was a moment that Drew admits to not remembering; even though it was an insignificant act to him, it was a life changing moment for her. Drew encourages everyone to display good leadership practices all the time, because you never know what people will respond to and when your “lollipop moment” will happen.
One of the things that I loved about participating in the leadership series is that they encourage and prepare people to be good, aware, and informed individuals. The skills that I learned as a participant made me more aware of how I communicate and behave around others, and has made me a more effective leader. I know that at any given moment of any given day, I could have my lollipop moment. Encouraging everyone to take on the challenge of being an everyday leader can change the world just as much as a president could. By trying to make small changes in the lives of those around us every day, we as a people can help to inspire real, lasting change in our world.