Sweet Soul: Are you deeply concerned with needing to change the world, but get PARALYZED by all that needs to be done?
Most of my community and the folks I coach are changemakers or aspiring changemakers…folks who want to actively change the world in some way. And the biggest threat to you lovely peeps? OVERWHELM.
Somehow you all got the message that it’s up to you to change the world…the children, the rain forest, healthcare, the animals, free speech, marginalized people, historic buildings, fresh water, democracy, worker’s rights, education, the……. Well, you get the idea.
I love your compassion, but I tell ya…trying to take it all on will end up rendering you USELESS. Instead of taking effective action for what you care about, you’ll find yourself pinned to the ground by the weight of the world on your shoulders.
So, today I give you permission…
You don’t have to change the world…just a little CORNER of it.
That means finding an area you’re passionate about, the way you can best be of service in that area, and committing to small consistent actions on this path.
I try to live this. There are so many issues I really care about, but if I tried to tackle them all at once, I’d be too scattered and exhausted to be any good to any of them. Instead, I choose my ways to be of service very carefully according to:
- What calls most deeply to me (usually a combination of what I most resonate with and what most needs me)
- Initiatives that best utilize my personality/skill-set for the most powerful effect
For example, a place I focus my changemaking is to help end the suffering of animals raised for food. This issue calls to be me deeply because of the staggering number of victims (56 BILLION land animals killed each year for food) and the intensity of cruelty they’re subjected to.
Choosing the Initiative
As for choosing the initiative… I could spend all day and night on Facebook arguing with trolls who write “Mmmm….bacon” on photos of pigs in factory farms, but instead, I take on projects that I can bring particular value to like communications, video content, coaching animal advocates, or speaking at events.
For you, maybe you’re an accountant and saving the oceans is what most calls to you. Well, see if that local ocean conservation group needs a treasurer and BAM!…you’ve got your corner!
Or maybe it’s racial justice that feels the most pressing for you and you’re a decent writer… Commit to writing a letter-to-the-editor once a week on this topic.
Or it’s orphans in Syria you feel particularly inspired to help and you happen to work in an affluent corporate environment… Get organizing a fundraising campaign there!
When you choose a corner of the world to focus your service on, there’s the added bonus of not getting sucked into ineffective little battles every day. You feel ok letting that baiting comment from an in-law go because you know it’s smarter to conserve your energy for your most effective work.
That’s not to say you should have your head in the sand about other issues. It’s important to stay informed and supportive of the good work happening in other areas (we’re all allies in making the world a better place!), but great power comes from consistently coming back to build in your corner of the world.
Where this month will you put your loving attention? Choose a focus and then start taking just one baby step after another around it.
With all of us chipping away in our corner of the world like this, it will be as Lin Hsiu Nei describes… “like little drops of rain, Makes a mighty ocean and a gracious nation.”
In other words, we will change the world.