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10 Ways To Make A Positive Difference


10 Ways To Make A Positive Difference

Feeling overwhelmed by issues in work, leadership, the world, life? Wondering what you, one person, can do? Here are 10 kickstart ideas.

Frustrated with an issue in your organization? Dissatisfied with the political climate? Overwhelmed by challenges that seem so large and wondering what you, one person, can do about them? “How wonderful that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world,” Anne Frank reminded us, and I agree completely.

If you haven’t already, start by clarifying your values. Every decision you make and action you take is steeped in your values, so begin by knowing what matters most to you. Think of it this way: If you made monetary donations to causes you believe in, you could give $10 to 100 different organizations or $1,000 to a single organization. Which do you feel would make a bigger impact and send a stronger message? The same focusing principle applies to our time, energy, and action.

Since every decision you make and action you take is steeped in your values, become crystal clear on what those are (if you need help, contact me about a Kickstart Coaching session). Once you know and can focus on what matters most – what mountain you’re willing to stand on – consider these 10 actions you can take today to begin making a positive, purposeful difference.

1. Connect with like-minded people. We are stronger together. Come together with other purposeful people to dialogue, design strategy, and take meaningful action.

2. Connect with unlike-minded people. Engage in respectful conversation with those who think differently. When we open ourselves up to perspectives, three things happen: a) we learn that we have more similarities than differences, b) we can come together on our common ground, and c) we become more empathetic.

3. Write a thoughtful, fact-based article. Tell your meaningful stories, embrace your passion, and support your ideas with legitimate research. Share your article with publications you admire, via your blog, on social media, or any of the endless ways we now have to publish. Provide sound action steps for readers, too.

4. Help the person next to you. Whether shoveling someone’s sidewalk, sending an anonymous pre-paid gas card to an unemployed friend, or helping someone safely cross the street, you’d be surprised what a wide reach your kindness will have. (Thank you, ripple effect!)

5. Model strength, courage, and positivity. Refuse to be drawn into the negativity or groupthink. Be the ray of sunshine that offers hope and brings light to the darkness. This requires intention and consistently “filling your bucket.”

6. Give among the three T’s: Time, Talent, Treasure. You don’t have to be a millionaire to prompt change, support growth, or start a movement. And like wise-beyond-her-years Anne Frank also wrote, “No one ever became poor by giving.”

7. Be an inspired leader. Throw your hat in the ring to lead groups, committees, organizations, cities, countries. Regardless of your title, embrace the power of collaborative leadership.

8. Be an inspiring follower. When not in a formal leadership role, be the best follower for those leaders you admire. Actively participate, volunteer to take on tasks, visibly and verbally show your support.

9. Ask how you can help. Found a cause or issue you want to support? Ask what they need. See someone who looks like she’s struggling? Ask how you can help. Be curious instead of assumptive.

10. Show up. Whatever that means in the moment: Show up at events, show up in conversations, show up fully for the people around you – and for yourself. Don’t be a bystander in work, leadership, life, or any place you see potential for growth and betterment. Show up, stand up, speak up.

Willa Cather said, “Where there is great love, there are always miracles.” Work, lead, and live with great love, and you will experience – and contribute to – the miracles.

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