I had a chance to speak to a crowd last night at a Media & Exhibition Festival in the Houston area last night. It wasn’t a planned speech. I stepped in when one of the three scheduled speakers canceled.  I didn’t get a lot of time to think about what I was going to say, but I didn’t need a lot of time. I quickly figured out the most relevant and universal topic would be how we each have the power to help or hinder people.

In our quest to pursue our own dreams, we may forget how much of an impact we can have on the lives of people whose paths we cross daily. In an average lifetime, I bet the number of lives we touch directly or indirectly is in the millions. You could take all of those people and circle the globe, I’m sure.

The person who is responsible for my relocation to Houston became a topic of last night’s speech. She will never know it; she is nearing the end of  a long battle with cancer.  I paid tribute to her because of all the good things she set in motion in 2001, the year I moved to Houston for the first time. I reflected on the start of my acting career, my growing interest in filmmaking, the birth of my daughter, and a lot of other heartwarming moments that happened in Houston. All of these wonderful experiences would not have been possible without one person’s decision all those years ago.

I will tell you the same thing I told the audience last night. You are significant, and you are responsible. You’re responsible for the lives of people you encounter. You can either help or hinder them. Make your choice wisely, and think about the far-reaching impact of even one act of kindness today.