How One Woman Changed the World

It’s been a long time since I’ve shared something from one of the dozens of E-mails I get every day, but once in a while, I run across something that is so special, I feel like I need to share it with you.

This E-mail is from Pam Young, one of the original Slob Sisters who first inspired Flylady (if you don’t know who Flylady is, you really need to know – go to and find out).

Pam now runs a website called the Brat Factor that is dedicated to those inner Brats in our heads who want to run the show and not do the things we all know we should be doing.

On Saturday my husband Terry and I had the privilege of having Candace Lightner (I think she went by Candy when you would have heard of her) to our home for dinner. Candace is the founder of MADD, Mothers Against Drunk Driving.

She and Terry were in real estate together in Sacramento when her 13-year-old daughter was killed by a hit and run drunk driver. In my estimation Candice Lightner changed the behavior of our society!

I remember the Oregonian had a front-page story about what she was doing. A grieving mom used her personal tragedy to illicit change in our legal system’s leniency in sentencing drunks who drive and kill. I was dating a lawyer at the time.

“Yikes, this is gonna change a lot of personal behavior in the legal community,” my attorney date said as we sipped glasses of wine in a restaurant in downtown Portland.

“Legal community?”

“Yeah attorneys and judges.”

“How will this change them?”

“Well, just last month I was at the court house at a party, all attorneys and judges and a few paralegals and the booze was flowing and somebody got out a breathalyzer and everyone started blowing into it to see who could get the highest blood alcohol number.”


“And, then we partied, laughed, drank more and all drove home.”

“Even the winner?”


Candace put a stop to (or at least a pretty big plug) in that kind of behavior and today most of the people I know are conscientious about not drinking and driving!

As moms we know that Candace’s tragedy is our worst nightmare! I have great respect for what she was able to accomplish and I was happy to meet her and see that she made it through her grief. I can report she was dressed all the way to shoes, had make-up on, cute hair, jewelry, she smelled good and laughed easily (all the things I didn’t think I would be able to do if such a terrible thing would happen to me).

Yesterday was Sidetracked Home Executives anniversary. Peggy and I decided to change our behavior on June 16, 1977 and I am humbled to think our decision has made a ripple in the lives of millions; maybe not the Candace Lightner caliber of ripple, but still a ripple that will continue after we’re gone.

So here is my simplistic estimation of how change happens.

You don’t like your situation: a messy house, a stressful relationship, indebtedness or an out-of-shape body, just to name a few.

First, realize that your situation was created over time and it’s going to take time to change it. Second, in order to change your situation, realize you have to change your behavior that created the situation. In order to change your behavior, you have to change the thinking that was behind the behavior. In order to change the thinking behind the behavior you have to be aware of those thoughts that created the behavior that created the situation.

So, if you want to change your life, you must change your thinking, but by the time you are up to your neck in a situation you don’t like, the thoughts that created the behavior (and ultimately the situation) are a habit and you don’t even realize you’ve been thinking them.

The good news is that you can change a habit (even if it’s a “thinking” habit! Start catching your thoughts before they get you to do something that will sabotage your good intentions. Thought by thought you will gradually get into a habit of new behavior that will produce the situations you dream of.

Please visit our website at (Soon to be changing to


  1. Wow, this was very interesting, you had a chance to know the mother of MADD. You are the second person who has said something about Flylady. I have a lot of friends who love this site. I’ve never gone because my nature is to be efficient…if I clean. 😉

  2. Such an important message to get out there. What a great post.

Speak Your Mind