UN Speech – Interfaith Celebration, Kansas City, October 22, 1995

I know this is a different face than many of you expected to see this evening; however, I am honored and humbled to speak in Mr. Otunnu’s place. We are here to celebrate tonight — to celebrate the work of the United Nations over the last 50 years in helping our world move toward world peace. But I believe we are also here to examine what each of our individual roles must be in this process.

Peace begins within each individual heart and soul, and I want to spend my time with you tonight talking about CHOICES — the choices we each have every day in every interaction to make a difference in our own spheres of influence.

I believe that many of us today are functioning in “survival mode”, just trying to make it through each day, so I don’t think we have time for a lot of theory and concept. We need immediately actionable, hands-on, measurable ways to understand how we can make a difference. I would like to share four ideas that have made a tremendous difference in my life.

1. (Human-Business Model) I was not able to use slides in this lovely building, so I have included in your handouts visuals of the models I will be talking about. The first model that has impacted my life is one that visually shows that every interaction we have with anyone is made up of two levels, the Business level of meeting whatever the person’s external objectives are and the Human level which is all about how they feel in that interaction.

As I speak and travel all over the world, I find that people are desperate to be recognized as HUMAN BEINGS rather than their social security numbers, account numbers, or membership in a particular ethnic, religious, or racial group. It has become too easy to interact only on the Business level both because of technology and because of the fear of taking a risk and stepping out of our comfort zones.

No matter where I go in the world, I ask this question and nearly everyone can relate to it: “How many of you have gone to a doctor who treated you only on the Business level? How did that feel?” “How many of you have been managed by someone who managed you only on the Business level? Did you do your best work for that person?” I challenge you to begin to examine every one of your interactions, written, electronic, and face to face, using this model–have you met both the person’s business AND human needs? Note that the interaction is not “whole” until both levels have been met.

This model can become the way one views the world. C. Reade has said, When love (the human level) and skill (the business level) work together, expect a masterpiece.”

2. I am a very visual person, so several years ago I created a model to allow me to SEE and even measure the difference I can make in every interaction. It is made up of a three column chart with a minus column, a zero column, and a plus column. This chart represents MY CHOICE in every interaction I have with anyone. I can choose to create a negative, a neutral, or a positive experience for them. If I discount them, making them feel less important than me or my organization, that is a “-“. If I just take care of their business, that is a “0”. However, any time I create a human level connection with that person, I have created a “+” experience for them, leaving them a little better because they interacted with me.

I have had this model printed on a 3×5 card which you will receive on your way out tonight. I would ask you to keep this card with you for one week and each time you interact with anyone, put a little check mark in the appropriate column. At the end of the week if you have more checks in the “+” column, you have contributed to adding more peace, love, and joy to our world!

Whenever and wherever I speak, I use this quotation from Mother Teresa which has become a philosophy of life for me and exemplifies our mission in this world:

Be kind and merciful. Let no one ever come to you without coming away better and happier.

On the back of the card is another thought from Lou Holtz that has “whacked” my thinking. He says, “Why is it that the people who need love and understanding the most usually deserve it the least?” What this has come to mean to me is that the crabbiest, most unlovable person I meet today NEEDS my love the most. Somehow it raises me to a higher plane, allowing me to truly see that I can minister to another, that I CAN make a difference!

3. (Chinese symbol for listening) I have a brother who is truly a citizen of the world and lives in Singapore. Many years ago he sent me the Chinese character for the verb “to listen”. This is also in your handout. On the lefthand side is the symbol for the “ear” which signifies listening with your intellect or your head. However, the righthand side is made up of four symbols–the symbol for”You,” signifying listening with your own personhood; the symbol for the “Eye” which means to listen by observing body language; the symbol for “Undivided Attention”; but the cornerstone of listening is the “Heart.” Are you listening to each of God’s creations with both your head and your heart?

4. The fourth actionable idea I offer you is to find your own personal sense of mission. Who are you and what is your work? My friend Ken Blanchard, who wrote The One Minute Manager and is a very spiritual person, first challenged me to create my own personl mission statement which has become an anchor in my life. It is “I am here as God’s helper to spread contagious enthusiasm and to lovingly and creatively help other people and myself see the choices we have to make a difference in the world.” I hope you will leave here tonight with a commitment to yourself to put your personal mission into words as an offering to God of your purpose in this world.

Another way to express your personal sense of mission is to find a way to add your own personal signature to your work. Find some way to differentiate yourself from all the other people who do the same thing you do so that you are making a difference. I want to tell you the story of one young man who truly is making a difference by adding more love and joy to this world:

Last fall I was asked to speak to 3000 employees of a large supermarket chain in the Midwest, and one of the things I spoke about was the idea of adding a personal signature to your work. About 3 weeks after I had spoken to the supermarket employees, my phone rang late one afternoon. The person on the line told me that his name was Johnny and that he was a bagger in one of the stores. He also told me that he was a Down’s Syndrome person. He said, “Barbara, I liked what you said!” Then he went on to tell me how when he’d gone home that night, he asked his Dad to teach him to use the computer.

He said they set it up in three columns, and each night now when he goes home, he finds a “thought for the day.” He said when he can’t find one he likes, he “thinks one up!” Then he types it into the computer, prints them out, cuts them out, and signs his name on the back of each one. The next day as he bags customer’s groceries, “with flourish” he puts a thought for the day in each person’s groceries he bags, adding his own personal signature in a heartwarming, fun, and creative way.

One month later the manager of the store called me. He said, “Barbara, you won’t believe what happened today. . . . . When I went out on the floor this morning, the line at Johnny’s checkout was three times longer than any other line!” He said, “I went ballistic, yelling, ‘Get more lanes open! Get more people out here,’ but the customers said, ‘No no! We want to be in Johnny’s lane — we want the thought for the day!’ ”

He said one woman even came up and told him, “I only used to shop once a week, and now I come in every time I go by because I want the thought for the day!” (Imagine what that does to the bottom line . . . .) He ended by saying, “Who do you think is the most important person in our whole store?” Johnny, of course!

Three months later he called me again, “You and Johnny have transformed our store! Now in the floral department when they have a broken flower or an unused corsage, they go out on the floor and find an elderly woman or a little girl and pin it on them. One of our meat packers loves Snoopy, so he bought 50,000 Snoopy stickers, and each time he packages a piece of meat, he puts a Snoopy sticker on it. We are having so much fun, and our customers are having so much fun!” THAT is spirit in the workplace!

It never ceases to amaze me whenenver I tell this beautiful story how little it takes to regenerate the spirit in a workplace. Johnny took what many of us might consider to be a not very important job and he made it important by adding his own personal signature. My challenge and yours — if youngJohnny can do it, there is no reason why each one of us can’t do it, too. Imagine the new spirits of self-esteem, commitment, and fun which could permeate our places of work if we each, like Johnny, found a way to add our special, unique touch to our job! And this new spirit adds more love and joy to the whole world.

Each action that we take, each word that we speak reverberates throughout the world. As we make the positive, loving, peaceful choices within our own spheres of influence, we will raise the level of mankind’s existence on this earth. We can make positive, actionable choices using the models and ideas I’ve mentioned in our homes, in our places of work, in our communities, and even in our nation.

In my own life, however, I find it harder to make actionable choices to impact the whole world , so here I rely on the United Nations to guide and educate me. In fact, I did not consciously realize how much personal HOPE I have put in the UN until I was beginning to prepare this speech and began to verbalize my feelings about this organization which is a microcosm of the whole world.

Yes, it is imperfect because it is made up of HUMAN beings, but the world is made up of human beings and therein, I believe, lies our ultimate hope. Just as hunger, grief, and pain need no language to be understood, neither do peace, love, and joy.

I want to share with you a letter written this summer that was faxed to me by a friend in Oregon that exemplifies to me how the UN is giving us ACTIONABLE ways to make a difference:

This letter is from Ivan Misic, the Ambassador to the UN from the Republic of Bosnia and Herzogovina:

On behalf of the people of Bosnia and Herzogovina, we formally request your participation in activating collective spiritual power in response to the forces of destruction now plaguing our nation.

Two minutes of silent meditation and prayer, at 3pm in New York City, 12 noon in LA, 9pm in Sarajevo, and 8pm in London, every day from August 11 to September 11, will bring millions of hearts and minds together in the application of spiritual force.

The highest form of power is not the allocation of external resources, but the harnessing of internal ones. Let us harness the love of all the people of the world. Love and love alone, can undo hatred. May peace be restored to all the world.

The United Nations General Assembly has proclaimed a World Week of Peace beginning October 24, 1995. I invite each of you to make an ACTIONABLE choice and spend a few minutes each day in prayer and meditation for our world.

But more importantly, I ask you to begin in your own spheres of influence to make the positive CHOICES to create more peace, love, and joy. You can do this by remembering the two levels of any interaction, the three choices you have to make a difference, to listen with your heart, and to find your own personal sense of mission. Then support the United Nations to carry that spirit forward into the world.

In our “oneness” as brother and sisters in this world, we each have choices about how we will live. AND THOSE CHOICES CAN CREATE A NEW WORLD ORDER.

I close with Rule #10 from my special friend Og Mandino’s beautiful book A Better Way to Live:

Beginning today, treat everyone you meet, loved one or stranger, friend or foe, AS IF THEY WERE GOING TO BE DEAD AT MIDNIGHT. Extend to each person you meet, no matter how trivial the contact, all the care and the kindness and the understanding and the love that you can muster. And do so with no thought of any reward, Your life will never be the same again!



We are gathered here tonight in a spiritual celebration of peace in our world. We rejoice in the gift of the United Nations and pledge to support its mission in actionable ways. Let us all send our prayers and meditations every day this very week to further its mission of world peace.

But let us also remember that peace begins first in our own hearts and lives–in each action and word that we utter. Let us all commit to making the positive choices in each interaction we have–in our homes, in our places of work, and in our communities. Let us love until it hurts! Therein, we WILL impact our world.

Mother Teresa says:

I never look at the masses as my responsibility. I only look at the individual. I can only love one person at a time. I can only feed one person at a time.

Just one, one, one . . . .

So you begin . . . I begin.

I picked up one person – – –

Maybe if I didn’t pick up that one person, I wouldn’t have picked up 42,000.

The whole work is only a drop in the ocean. But if I didn’t put the drop in, the ocean would be one drop less.

Same thing for you,

Same thing in your family,

Same thing in your (business)

Wherever you go

Just begin . . . . one, one, one.

© Barbara Glanz Communications. All Rights Reserved.

Barbara Glanz Biography

A member of the prestigious Speaker Hall of Fame and one of fewer than 700 Certified Speaking Professionals worldwide, Barbara Glanz, CSP, CPAE, works with organizations to improve morale, retention and service and with people who want to rediscover the joy in their work and in their lives. She is the first speaker on record to have spoken on all 7 continents and in all 50 states. Known as "the business speaker who speaks to your heart as well as to your head," Barbara is the author of twelve books including The Simple Truths of Service Inspired by Johnny the Bagger®, CARE Packages for the Workplace, and 180 Ways to Spread Contagious Enthusiasm™. Voted "best keynote presenter you have heard or used" by Meetings & Conventions Magazine, Barbara uses her Master’s degree in Adult Learning to design programs that cause behavior change. She lives and breathes her personal motto: “Spreading Contagious Enthusiasm™” and can be reached at bglanz@barbaraglanz.com and www.barbaraglanz.com.

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