Unleashing Hidden Potential

Mexicans recently commemorated the Day of the Dead (Día de Muertos). While this is not a holiday I’m used to observing, last week I paused to contemplate and remember the loved ones in my life who have passed away. My thoughts gravitated towards my grandfather, who my siblings and I lovingly called “Grampie”. He passed away in 2001, shortly before September 11. He influenced my life significantly, and I miss him deeply.

He enjoyed games, and we would often play cards and rummy tiles late into the night. I was excited to learn how to fish with him, but that quickly faded when I discovered he was also going to teach me how to clean what we caught! When we would come home from the grocery store with a new carton of ice cream he always winked at us and said we should probably “test” it - even if it was 10 in the morning! His specialty breakfast he loved to make for us was pancakes with fresh blueberries. And he loved to share stories about what he had learned in life that he thought would help his grand kids succeed. He would tell us stories and show us pictures from his childhood, from his military service and from his entrepreneurial career. I was always asking to look through his old steamer trunks of pictures and family treasures. It fascinated me, and I never grew tired of learning and listening to his wisdom- especially since his Boston accent was so endearing! To this day, when I’m tempted to be less than pleasant, I often hear his voice in my head reciting one of his favorite sayings, “Smile and the world will smile back” - it’s a much nicer way to live!

But most of all, he believed in me, and never missed an opportunity to tell me that. Knowing you have someone who believes in you is a powerful force for change. It fans sparks of confidence and optimism into flames. It bolsters courage to walk into uncharted territory and try new things. Ultimately, it helps people succeed. Most people struggle with self-doubts at various times in life, and often hear things from those around them that feed their insecurities. Sometimes all it takes is for one person to speak words of affirmation, to take the time to say “I believe in you.” And suddenly, their hidden potential is unleashed.

That’s what we try to do here at Erase Poverty. We come alongside women and men in poverty and say “We believe in you.” A microloan is a tangible expression of that belief, and is a tool that unleashes their potential and leads to their success! I’m so grateful to all the members of the Erase Poverty community that are committed to giving people a hand up!


  1. Who has believed in you and helped fuel your success? Would you take time to write an email or a quick note, or make a quick phone call today and say “Thank you!”
  2. Is there someone in your life that you could be that powerful force for change? Someone you could help unleash their potential simply by telling them you believe in them? Why not do that today!


"If you find it in your heart to care for somebody else, you will have succeeded." ~ Maya Angelou