Can One Person Really Make a Difference?

Posted on: May 16th, 2014 by Dan Saia

As someone who’s been in the writing/publishing/book business since 2004 – in one form or another – I’ve often taught that one book, one person, one author really can make a difference. 

Yet, through all those years of teaching I only knew this in my “head” and didn’t have a cellular, soul experience of what this truly meant. 

Until… December 2, 2010 (which happens to be my birthday). 

That day was the day I was supposed to sign the official papers to file for bankruptcy after a 2 year battle to try to avoid that difficult and painful decision.  It was supposed to be a day of new beginnings… 

But, less than 24 hours before I was to go to my attorney’s office, I got a surprise FedEx letter from my former business partner’s attorney saying she wanted the last shred of stability I had – our small publishing business.  The one I’d started in 2004; the one I’d invited her to join me in, in 2009. 

Long story short, just when I thought it couldn’t get any worse than bankruptcy, foreclosure and the feeling that I had lost my identity… this unexpected FedEx letter proved me wrong.  And I found myself in such a “fog” of desperation, confusion, pain and anger I had to hold onto the walls to walk around my house – I was that disoriented and shaken from the letter, which represented losing the only small bit of income I had.   

You may be able to imagine a crossroads moment like this in your life; one where the decisions you make – and the actions you take – will have impact for years to come.  I was at that crossroads… 

24 hours later, I come out of meditation to notice a book on the table next to where I was meditating.  It had been there for a few years, untouched. 

But something inside of me that day – on December 2, 2010 (my birthday)– prompted me to sit down immediately and read that book.  I did, and it changed everything. 

The book was Cheryl Richardson’s “The Unmistakable Touch of Grace.”   

Reading her book felt like she was talking directly to me; like she knew the depth of the pain and confusion, and the desperation of my prayers for help.  She showed me, on every page, how to begin to look for evidence of grace in my life. 

Despite my world crashing around me, I heeded her advice and began the practices she recommended.  Looking back, picking up that book was one of the greatest birthday gifts I ever experienced. 

As a result of the healing and transformation I received reading Cheryl’s book, I began to find hope again, and a glimmer of light that everything happened for a reason.  I began to believe that something good would come of it, and that this dark night was only going to help me in doing what I was put on earth to do.  Her book gave me all of that and more. 

I’ve only met Cheryl once, briefly.  And it was before I read her book.  Yet, I value her as one of the most powerful mentors in my life because of what she was willing to put on the page for me that day. 

Within 5 months of reading her book and feeling reinvigorated about my life, I conceived and launched the first Transformational Author Experience where nearly 10,000 people registered online.  Since then, that number has multiplied as I prepare to deliver this training for the fourth time in a row. 

Sometimes I wonder what would have happened if I never picked up her book. 

What would I be doing?  How would life be different for the tens of thousands of authors I’ve helped? Who would not have signed a publishing contract or been on national TV, or found their soul’s true calling?   

It’s difficult to image how life would be for me and those I now impact around the world.   

So, if you have ever doubted that one person, one book – can really make a difference… I hope you’re becoming a believer through my story.   

And, I hope you see that YOUR story, YOUR wisdom has the same potential to impact lives as Cheryl’s story did me.      

Never underestimate the power one person has to make a difference, and never understand that YOU are that person.

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