Imagine What We Could Accomplish

By Siobhan Neilland • April 3, 2014

Every word we speak, every action we make impacts those around us—even when we don’t realize it. My full-time job as a consultant for Fortune 100 companies on either coast requires me to travel frequently. A few years ago I was on a layover in JFK International Airport, returning from a trip to Africa. Ridden with mosquito bites, sunburns, and more bags than any sane traveler dare carry; I looked like a hot mess. My non-profit, The OneMama Foundation just successfully installed our pilot program in Uganda. I’d spent the last three weeks meeting midwives in our clinic by day and sleeping on a mud floor with rats by night. I had shared love, joy, and moonlit dances with people who live on less than $1.00 a day and have babies in those conditions—all while keeping up-to-date with my team’s projects in the U.S. So when a man approached me in the airport and asked what I do, my answer was anything but simple.

Our conversation only lasted a few moments. He was working for MTV in New York City living a seemingly perfect life. But there was still something missing. He described the same gnawing emptiness I struggled with for many years; one that could not be filled with work, money, or picture perfect life. We then parted ways.

About a month ago I received a Facebook message from this same man who recounted our airport conversation years before. Since we’d last spoken he had quit that life, moved to another state to help people with cancer, and got his “ego in-check”.

What prompted his life transformation? It was our conversation in JFK all those years ago.

Most of us will never know the impact of our conversations with loved ones, friends, family, or strangers we meet in airports. But the things we do ripple far beyond our immediate selves. What if we harnessed the power of each of our daily interactions… imagine what we could accomplish!

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