This is the 13th installment of The Slacker's Guide To Success, based on my work with teens, young adults and their families. The introduction can be found here. The other chapters are available here.
Change the World -- Pay it Forward.
Most people feel something missing in their lives. For many, there is an inner void that toys and money cannot fill up. You could count your blessings (it worked for Ebenezer Scrooge); you are alive, you live in a country where you can vote, give an opinion and live your life fairly free of obstructions but sometimes that isn't enough to feel fulfilled.
So, how do we bring meaning into our lives? How do we begin to feel truly alive? Do something crazy! Help someone else.
Choose to make one small positive change in the world. Some will say it's a waste of time. Some will call you foolish. Let them. You are your own person. Don't do it for anyone else but yourself. Help someone up off the ground. Get them back on their feet. Do your thing. Slowly. Little by little. Put everything you have into it but don't tell anyone. Just do it.
How do you do it?
"The antidote to discrimination and stigma is proximity and education." - Dr. Catherine Zahn
1) Choose: Pick something you care about: homelessness, mental illness, discrimination, child poverty, elder abuse. Make this your passion mission.
2) Investigate: Do research on it. Find out enough that you could talk to anyone about it for 10 minutes and make him or her want to join in and help.
3) Discover: Go visit three places that presently help people in your cause. Learn about it "in the flesh."
4) Volunteer: Volunteer once or twice a week at a place that represents the best of helping your cause.
5) Search for the single point: Ask people in the know, what is the one thing that would help this group thrive?
6) Communicate the single point: Pick that positive point and go and talk about it with everyone who will listen.
7) Find others: Write down the names/contact info of the people who are moved by the idea.
8) Invite others: Set up a meeting (real or virtual) with all those people and decided on the one thing you want your politicians to change.
9) Involve the bigger community: Talk to local politicians and ask them what is required to make that change happen and if they would endorse it. Find out what level of government can help.
10) Make it an issue: Use all that you have learned to make this a platform for change in upcoming elections at the proper level.
11) Social Media: Get all your friends involved. Create a Facebook page. Create a Twitter account and get politicians to contribute information on the topic.
12) Vote! It is a great power rarely used by young people in civilizations where most needs are met. That is the best time to exercise your democratic right. Use your passion mission to change the world.
13) See what happens: Even if you do the first four on the list, you are making a difference. Anything after that and you are changing the world.
Find your passion mission, research it, learn to discuss it, get others involved and make it happen.
My passion mission is helping young adults rise above whatever keeps them stuck to find their personal power. I work with clients, teach parents how to mentor and talk to organizations on how to do the same for their employees. It is what I do but it is also what I love doing. I enjoy seeing someone grow and become his or her best beyond what I could ever imagine. This is also what I have been writing about for the past year.
In my previous articles, I have shared with you how small actions done on a daily basis can achieve great changes. I invite you now to bring that skill to helping others and watch your life transform to the best of what you can be.
Start now! Write down three ideas that could change the world for the better, even if it's the smallest thing and no one else will notice. Choose one. Cut it out of the paper and put in on the mirror you see first thing in the morning. When you see it, say to yourself: "I can make a difference and today I will do one thing that brings me closer to my goal."
How does that fill up that emptiness? When we start thinking about helping others, we raise not only their hopes but our own heart vibrations. Our hearts rise up beyond the petty slights and missteps of daily life and begin to focus on a bigger picture. The image of belonging to a greater community. Is that love? Is that grace? I don't know, but whatever it is when you pay it forward, it grows. Try it. If you do it and it doesn't work, you've lost nothing but if it does work, you may find something indescribable.