Making A Difference: 2 Ways To Get Started

By Elaine Cercado

In today’s age where we call ourselves global citizens, making a difference wherever we are is possible. There are so many avenues and platforms available. Some of us though can’t seem to get started. Allow me to share a couple of ways that worked for me on how to get started and how to keep it going.

Take time to know WHY

Sometimes we don’t really know why we want to participate in a movement or community, or to do a certain project or initiative. We just feel we like it, or are rushed to do something. To know and understand the WHY is to know one’s passion and purpose. To discover one’s purpose is to unlock the key to being fully present, engaged and enthusiastic. When we know WHY, we radiate joy and confidence, and begin to attract and inspire others to rally our cause or purpose.

Simon Sinek shared the secret of top leaders on how they inspire others, and it is in knowing why. Sinek said: “Great leaders all start with WHY. They tell you what they believe, their purpose or their cause and then ask you to join their cause…When you communicate from the inside-out, starting with WHY, you influence behavior, and the tangible things you say and do enable people to rationalize their decisions.” Check out Simon Sinek’s full video.

How can we discover the WHY? It is a process worthy of another article. One quick answer is to write down personal thoughts, reflections and discoveries in a journal or blog. Why journalize? Michael Hyatt explained well in his article “The 7 Benefits of Keeping a Daily Journal”.

Help others achieve their goals

“If you want to achieve your goals, help others achieve their goals” ~Zig Ziglar

Start a personal project for the next 12 months or so. Make it uniquely personal, purposeful and action-oriented. Again, journalize or blog about it.

At the beginning of the year, I started my own Personal Project 52. The project was about contributing to a key goal every week for the year 2014, hence 52 weeks of contributions. After some reflection and discernment, I chose “Stretch to GIVE” as my personal goal for 2014. GIVE stood for growth, ideas, vision and empowerment. My aim was to stretch myself to impact persons or groups positively, by using and sharing my personal resources, which I defined to include personal time, talents and treasures. I focused on four areas close to my heart: personal or professional growth of gifts & talents, developing and sharing ideas, fulfilling a vision, and personal empowerment.

I discerned that my key inspirational message is my life. My life and change journey reflected my purpose “to grow the POWER in U” through day-to-day or week-to-week actions. Hence, I stretched myself; re-discovered my own gifts and talents; developed and shared them – so I may grow the power within me and hopefully inspire and empower others to stretch and grow too.
We have heard the saying “Bloom where you are planted.” Can we really bloom where we are planted, and if so, up to what extent? Can we really make a difference in our noisy and complex world? In her “The Oprah Winfrey Show Finale”, Oprah had these final words to the audience:

shutterstock_114039694“But what I want you to know as this show ends: Each one of you has your own platform. Do not let the trappings here fool you. Mine is a stage in a studio, yours is wherever you are with your own reach, however small or however large that reach is. Maybe it’s 20 people; maybe it’s 30 people, 40 people, your family, your friends, your neighbors, your classmates, your classroom, your co-workers.

Wherever you are, that is your platform, your stage, your circle of influence. That is your talk show, and that is where your power lies. In every way, in every day, you are showing people exactly who you are. You’re letting your life speak for you. And when you do that, you will receive in direct proportion to how you give in whatever platform you have.”

If you have not started, or have paused for some time, it’s time to start or resume! We can all make a difference, inspire one another to take action and enjoy purposeful lives.

Note: This article was also published in LinkedIn and was featured in LinkedIn’s “What Inspires Me” channel. 

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