You look tired lately and for good reason. It’s exhausting to give a damn isn’t it?
To be a person of compassion, in a time when compassion is in such great demand; to wake up every day in days like these and push back against predatory politicians and toxic systems and human rights atrocities and acts of treason and Twitter tantrums—the volume and the relentlessness of the threats can be wearying.
You may have noticed this stress and weariness in your body. You’ve likely felt the steady accumulation of stress that regularly resides in tensed your shoulders, your clenched jaw, your elevated heart rate and in the knot in your stomach, that returns every morning when you wake up and you check Twitter or turn on the news or step out into you community or walk into your kitchen—and you see how much feels wrong in the world.
When life feels chaotic and unstable, most of us make the mistake of looking for hope somewhere off in the distance; a politician or religious leader, a musician or social media celebrity. We’re all prone to waiting for someone extraordinary to appear on the horizon and save the day when things go sideways. But the truth is, if you’re looking for heroic stuff, you may want to check the mirror.
You’re already fully qualified and perfectly positioned to be exactly what this world needs and five seemingly elementary questions, can help you inventory your abilities and unearth a plan.
1. “What can I do?”
You have practical, tangible gifts; talents to create, write, cook, build, fix, develop, etc. Right now there are places those precise skills are in short supply and there are people who could benefit from them in countless ways. Find these places and these people and begin making your mark in the small and the close.
Within arm’s reach, there are people who can’t do (even with great effort) what comes naturally to you.
2. “How do I think?”
The ways you solve problems, resolve conflict and approach challenges, are all completely unique to you and to the never –to-be-repeated arrangement of gray matter inside your head. Your mind works very differently than that of anyone around you (or who has ever walked the planet for that matter) and for this reason you can generate ideas and refine systems and build relationships and respond creatively, in ways no one else is capable of.
Think about the way you think, because it’s a game-changer.
3. “What are my resources?”
You have access to a treasure trove of valuable raw material that you can leverage in the cause of goodness: financial capital, availability, buildings and gathering spaces, business partnerships and equity of trust in the community. Your time, money and influence are all capital you have access to.
How can you spend or share that very specific wealth to fill in the gaps you see in the world?
4. “How am I wired?”
Think about your personality; all the particular quirks and idiosyncrasies that make you who you are. Are you gregarious or thoughtful, bold or gentle, fearless or cautious? Do you naturally take the lead or thrive behind the scenes? Either way, these attributes uniquely qualify you to do what no one else on the planet can do. There is a need for crowd-gathering extroverts, deeply relational conversation starters and quiet shadow laborers.
You, in all your glorious differentness—are a perfect fit.
5. “What is my circle of influence?”
Your friendships, business networks, social media platforms and family relationships all form a unique imprint. If you could engage all of those people for a cause or a movement, what would it be? What would you ask of them, say to them, invite them to do? When you have an answer to that question—ask it, say it, invite them.
So, yes, you may look around at the state of the world or the state of your marriage or the condition of your family and feel as though the situation is dire. From where you’re standing it all might well appear to be a complete and unprecedented mess. But that fact isn’t worth dwelling on (unless, of course, you determine yourself capable of spinning the planet backward and undoing all the already-done stuff).
Ultimately, the only question worth entertaining when faced with the daily disasters and dumpster fires outside the window, on your news feed, in your home or in your head is, “What am I going to do about it?”
Answering that question has destiny-shifting potential. Without any hyperbole whatsoever, whatever you decide to do has never before been done in quite the way you will do it, with your unique set of experiences, your particular set of tools and your specific amalgamation of gifts. However you choose to respond to everything that feels wrong out there, it will be a historic occasion.
So spend a little time today figuring out what burdens you, what you have to work with—and go save the world.