Raise your hand if you feel like your work doesn't matter much.
It's an exhausting feeling on an existential level, especially if your work is draining or downright painful.
If you want to make an impact with your work, but you don't know how, my message for you today is simple: You don’t have to be Gandhi, Mother Theresa, or Oprah to make a difference.
You don’t have to be at the front of the room delivering a speech to thousands of people to make a difference. You don't have to found a charity or start-up. You don’t have to sell all of your worldly possessions, move to Africa, and feed orphans in order to change the world.
Simply put, you do not have to make the grandest gesture toward the Universe to show that you care and that you stand for something. Here's how I know this is true.
When I was 17 years old, a hurricane destroyed my town, taking with it every possession I owned. Katrina swept through 3 weeks into my senior year of high school, and what was supposed to be a bookend, the culmination of the first part of my life, began in chaos.
Every memento-every marker of me-was gone overnight, and there were no pieces or objects or pictures to point to and declare who I was.
It was freeing, and it was terrifying, and when I returned to school, damaged and bifurcated as it was, the library was overflowing with boxes-donations from strangers across the country. After school let out for the day at lunch, I would go to library and sort through boxes in the name of organization. Tampons went in one pile, toothbrushes in the other. Clean pillows and sheets in one corner, boy’s tennis shoes in another. All of the essentials that had been bestowed upon us by kind strangers ended up in one place or another, and students from 5 to 18, all sharing the same building, could crowd in and take what they needed.
And in one of these boxes, I found lace. Specifically, lace attached to tulle. And sequins. And more tulle (I would live in wedding gowns and Manolos if were socially acceptable, so this was a very interesting discovery to me).
I opened the box and pulled out dress after dress after dress of beautiful fabric that was completely inappropriate for mucking around in hurricane debris, and I smiled.
You see, some kind women in Ohio heard about us on the news and decided we needed clothes. Specifically, they decided that everyone would be donating jeans and sports bras, and we needed cheering up. They realized that high school senior girls might be looking forward to homecoming and prom, and that if they didn’t send us their daughter’s outdated items resigned to the closet, we might never get the chance to experience feeling beautiful on a special night.
From the sidelines, it’s easy to criticize these women.
“Why something as impractical as dresses? Wouldn’t their efforts be better spent donating useful items? Or even better, shouldn’t they be focusing on the least privileged, the hungriest, the people without any sliver of hope?”
From the sidelines, it’s easy to criticize me for being the recipient of their charity. After all, I was born with privileges some women will never know. Shouldn’t I have refused to take something that existed for the mere reason of making me feel happy, beautiful, alive? Wouldn’t denying myself help to even the score a tiny bit?
When I wore one of those donation dresses to the homecoming dance when everything in my life was in shambles, I “got it” for the first time. I understood the meaning of the word gratitude in my gut, in my bones.
I got that grace isn’t earned, but freely given and tenderly accepted. And I finally understood that you don’t have to capital C “change the world” in order to change SOMEONE’S world. That knowing has guided my path and shaped the way I interact with the world, and there’s no guarantee that I would have stepped into MY purpose of making the world a better place without someone to first show me how.
So the point is this: If you get overwhelmed by all the good there is to do, resist the urge to shut down.
Instead, choose something small. Start slow and opt for the ripple effect, because your ripple effect is a magical, necessary link in the chain of events moving us closer to peace, balance, freedom. It matters to someone.
And I get it. I see you. You want to make the world a better place, and deep down in your gut, you know you were meant for more.
But you’re afraid.
You don’t know what to do with your life.
Or if it will work.
Or how to do it.
Or how you’ll find enough time.
Or if you are good enough.
Or if your family will freak out.
Or if you’ll be able to pay your bills.
Or if this hazy version of the future will be as good as what you’ve got right now.
Or if you’ll be able to stand up, be productive, and execute.
If you truly want to have an impact, or even start a ripple of change, check out the Career With Soul Mastermind Experience.
It's an entirely online coaching program designed to help you find your tribe, name your purpose, and make the difference you were born for.
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