Long ago, a huge fire erupted in a forest, and all the animals fled in terror. A wolf spotted a hummingbird flying back and forth high overhead and asked what it was doing.
"I am going to the lake," the hummingbird said. "I draw some water into my beak and then I throw it on the fire to extinguish it."
The wolf laughed and said, "Do you really think you can put this big fire out all by yourself?"
The hummingbird replied: "The forest is my home. It feeds and shelters me and my family. Maybe I can't put out the fire, but I can do my part."
The forest spirits, hearing the hummingbird, were moved by its devotion to the forest and sent a downpour of rain, which put an end to the great fire.
This story from "Bits & Pieces" shows what can happen when everyone does his or her part. Everyone can make a difference.
Helping others and making a difference in the world is what makes the world a better place. One person at a time, one day at a time, and one project at a time, you can make a difference that will leave a lasting impact.
Some of the biggest heroes in a business aren't head honchos. They're the regular employees who take extra care to do their best.
The development of the World Wide Web in 1994 at MIT's Laboratory for Computer Science is credited to Tim Berners-Lee, a British computer scientist. In the late 1980s, he proposed a project that combined hypertext and the internet with the goal of creating a place for researchers to share information, according to Reader's Digest.
Recently, I had the opportunity to speak to about 3,000 Subway franchisees in Las Vegas. I heard many stories about customer service, cleanliness and their No. 1 problem: attracting and keeping good employees. But one story from an Illinois franchisee caught my attention. He told me that sales in one of his stores were up more than 50%. I asked him why, and he told me it was all because of the store manager.
"She's a people person par excellence and makes every single customer feel like they are her favorite and only customer," he said. "She moves mountains to get to know the people personally and has developed friendships with many of them."
Security guard Frank Wills noticed tape over the lock of a basement door as he made his rounds at the Watergate office building in Washington, D.C., in June 1972. He assumed a worker had left it there accidentally, so he removed it.
But then Wills found the tape again on the same door. He called the police, and you know the rest. Two years later, President Richard Nixon resigned over his involvement in the coverup of the Watergate break-in.
Susan B. Anthony was both a revered and despised American political figure. In the late 1800s, she crusaded for women's right to vote, which didn't come to pass until several years after her death.
At the time, the majority opinion was that women shouldn't vote and were not the equal of men. Anyone trying to change the status quo was considered a troublemaker.
Still, Anthony soldiered on and eventually earned a following. She was the leader who inspired, motivated and refused to give up — a single person who made a big difference.
Mackay's Moral: We can talk about making a difference or we can make a difference.
Harvey Mackay is a Minneapolis businessman. Contact him at 612-378-6202 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.