Does one person matter?

In the new Kendrick Brothers movie “Overcomer”, coach Harrison is appalled to discover there is only student interested in joining the cross-country team — and she’s an asthmatic.

He tells the principal it’s not worth it. What can you do with just one team member?

The principal disagrees.

One person matters, she insists.

Years ago when I first started running workshops, I would get extremely discouraged if there was a low response rate.

One time, my co-facilitator and I ran a workshop where two people registered – then one pulled out, leaving just one person.

Should we go ahead, or cancel?

I made a decision to cancel, thinking “it’s not worth it” – and I’ve regretted it ever since.

Because what does it mean when we shut the door on the one person who shows enough interest to fill out the application form?

We are saying, “You are not important enough. I will only serve when there are 4, or 8, or 20 people in the room. I want to serve many and make a big difference. I am not willing to serve just one.”

If I could go back in time, I would choose differently.

Recently, I decided to run a workshop. The room was booked. The graphics and sales copy were all done and posted on social media.

Right up till one day before the event, I wondered if I should just cancel.

Not one registration had come in.

Should I still commute to the venue and show up in spite of no registrations?

It seemed like a waste of time and energy.

But I decided that I would show up anyway. The room was booked, and I would use those 90 minutes to read and work on my content strategy.

It would be a good use of my time and energy.

Then the night before the event, I got a PayPal notification, saying someone had registered and paid to come.

Then someone else messaged to say they were coming.

On the morning itself, as I was setting out for the venue, I received two more notifications of registration.

In all, four persons showed up to an event that had been posted online for weeks and that had attracted no response — and that I had been ready to write off as a lost cause.

What if I had decided to cancel because I had lost faith?

I would never have met those four persons.

I would have lost the precious opportunity to be of service.

I would not have got to hear about the different journeys each person is on, and the struggles they are facing.

I would have lost the opportunity to share my career change story, which impacted at least one person there, who afterwards stayed back to tell me how much they identified with what I said about my upbringing.

I would not have sold four copies of my book.

The list goes on.

What else might we sacrifice when we think it’s not worth it to serve (just) one person?