On Wednesday, September 28, 2016, I will be one of 1300 young leaders at this year’s One Young World Summit in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. I still can’t believe it!

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Ever since I was a little girl I’ve always been passionate about making a difference in my community. I’ve volunteered with countless charities, fundraised wherever possible, and lived with the mantra to “do unto others as you would have them do unto you”.

While I’ve worked really hard to make a difference right here in my community, I applied to One Young World thinking that perhaps I wasn’t good enough. It’s easy to share my excitement about One Young World with all of you, but I think it’s even more important to address some realities that I’m sure many of you can relate to.

They say we are our own worst critics and this couldn’t be more true of my journey to One Young World. I’ve always been known to be extremely involved in many, many organizations, projects, initiatives, etc… What can I say, I like to keep busy! I’m always thinking of the next movement I can be part of or the next goal I can accomplish in order to make a real impact with the work I am leading. Yet, despite always moving forward, a part of me has failed to soak it all in and really revel in my accomplishments.

I’ve always liked to work hard in silence and let the success I have been a part of make all the noise.

However, one thing I realized in anticipation for One Young World is how important it is to really look around once and awhile at all you’ve accomplished. For me personally, it really put my life into perspective. It helped me focus on what I am really passionate about, my vision for the future, and the next steps I’d like to take in order to not only be a young leader but one day, a world leader.

I think many young leaders can relate to this feeling. We’re always so busy working away that we sometimes fail to acknowledge what work really means the most to us and how it has the potential to change our lives completely. Our work may seem small in comparison to others, but it is still important.

If a community of young leaders each led one “small” project in their communities that strived to make a social impact, together, they will have changed the world. This, to me, is what One Young World is all about. It’s not about what we do alone, but what we can accomplish when we work together.

Collaboration has proven time and time again that we cannot accomplish all that we need to do without working together. Coming together is a beginning, staying together is progress, but working together is success.

I started off my journey thinking I needed to do a lot more with my life in order to be considered a young leader. What I never expected was the outpouring of support I received that not only encouraged me to attend One Young World but that reminded me that I already was a young leader in my community.

We all have the potential to make a difference in our communities. It’s easy to think that our efforts may be too small to change the world but, let me be the first to say, they are not.

To take action at any scale, is still action.

image1ellaWe are the generation that has been called to act, to make a difference, to speak up, to raise awareness, to not give up, to support each other and remind one another that we are all good enough. I am grateful to One Young World for putting my future into perspective, for helping me to believe in myself when I may have doubted my potential, and to all those I will soon meet that will help shape the rest of my life forever.

 

You may not be attending One Young World with me, but I promise to share every step of the way with you so that in turn you too can be inspired to change the world!

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