"The world is your oyster"
What a great saying - meaning you have the opportunity, the ability, the freedom, to do anything that you want, anything that you set your mind to.
But does this ring true for you? Maybe you don't believe you have that capability, because no one can really just do whatever they want - everyone has obligations to others that come first - right?
You might be thinking that you can't just drop everything else to do this. You need to be responsible, you need to maintain the basic necessities of life, and so on.
But What If?
Maybe you have that desire, deep inside, that you want to make a difference too, even if just in one small way. Maybe having a win or two would get you started on a much larger journey than you think. You just need a bit of encouragement, some support, to be shown how to start, within the limits of your current life, your current job, your bit of freedom. Could it be true?
A few years ago I couldn't even fathom going on my own, to make the impact in the world that I want to see. I made excuses: I didn't have time. I had to follow a set career path. I'd just take opportunities as they came to me. But there came a point where I realized I could blaze my own trail, even while I was working that corporate job. I realized I COULD make an impact if I just set my mind to it and started working towards that goal.
Last year I set out to get my name out there, to let my mission be known - by blogging, speaking, voicing my opinions, and reaching out to others to share my messages.
And you know what? Last year I performed several live presentations, with great feedback, I've guest blogged and blogged for my own site, and I have gained many new followers. This year I have several more speaking engagements confirmed and committed, workshops booked, and I've been recently featured in a national magazine as well!
So what is my point of telling you these things? Did I do anything extraordinary to do this? I'd say no. And am I stopping here? NO! Is this the point? No.
I merely wanted you to see - it's possible! YOU can do this too.
So, how do you make a shift - to make the impact that you want?
What, if anything, can you change?
How do you go about it?
Setting a Vision
First off, start out with a goal - a clear vision of what you want, a change for the better, and how that should look when the goal has been realized. Describe it on paper somewhere, add some visuals, make it real in your mind, and maybe even share it with others...it's been said that if you say it out loud, tell a few friends, post it publicly, goals are supposed to have that much more potential to come to fruition!
Aligning your Powers
Next, start making some connections...
- Who or what needs to change?
- How are you connected to it?
- Is it relevant to your job, or something completely unrelated?
- What is your level of influence?
- Are there others in your network who could support or join you?
- What do you, personally, have the ability to do to facilitate that change?
- What little thing could you change that would shift you (and maybe others) in that direction?
This association between the full vision and your potential contributions isn't always easy. You may need to spend some time thinking about it, get some help connecting the dots. Think about what your strengths are, what your knowledge areas are - the things that make you uniquely you. Why are you so passionate about making that change? What are those little problems that irk you so much, and you just know there is a better way...these are the things you need to do, to educate others about, to start moving that needle.
Establish your Mission & Develop a Plan of Attack
Once you know the small ways in which you can influence things, write up a bulleted list of how you might get from where things are now, to the outcome of your action. Step back from it, share it with others, and let it stew a bit. You'll usually find a few gaps to fill, or someone will suggest other strategies to get to the same end-point (more heads are always better than one!) And then,
Give yourself a draft schedule to fulfill your mission and get started - but don't get too hard on yourself if you don't finish in exactly the timelines you originally set out with. Life does get in the way sometimes, particularly when your mission isn't aligned with your active full time roles. Just keep moving forward.
The reality is, if everyone thought in this way, and we all took steps to do our little parts, the sum of the whole would move everyone in the right direction. Because if you are thinking about some grand thing that needs to change, then the reality is that there are likely many others thinking the same. And everyone's efforts pooled together could make a much larger impact.
Do we need to be in personal contact with these others? Sure, it might help to be organized (or it might not - sometimes large movements get too political or top-heavy to really make great traction). I vote for just starting somewhere, then worry about the connections and synergies later.
Here's my Example:
A long-term vision of mine, which, to be honest, is way too grand for me to take on myself, but it looks a bit like this:
RISKS OF INDUSTRY-RELATED ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACTS HAVE BEEN ELIMINATED
DAMAGES OF THE PAST HAVE BEEN REPAIRED, NATURE RESTORED, AND
SUSTAINABILITY HAS BEEN INTEGRATED INTO ALL BUSINESS PROCESSES AND DESIGNS.
For my part, I've set a mission to engage, empower and enable individuals and teams to make a positive impact on project and development outcomes. I aim to do this through the provision of strategies, tools and techniques, delivered through speaking, workshops, project advisement, and, in the near future, live online training as well.
Sound achievable? I think so! Admittedly, I'm an optimist, but I am also very passionate and committed to moving this vision forward. I'd be extremely happy to find you might be someone who wants to join me in this endeavour.
I hope this has empowered you to think about what you can do to impact something you are passionate about as well.
You CAN make a difference - it is in YOUR power!
I'd love to hear about the changes you would like to see - please leave them in the comments below!