Where Are You Making a Difference?

I was challenged recently by my holistic healer, Donna Wilkinson, an amazing woman who expanded my thinking about the “big picture” learnings from Hurricane Katrina. Through her abilities and insights to see more than most of us can see, Donna helped me realize that this level of devastation will likely continue in different places of our world that are as divided and suppressed as the Katrina areas unless we all make more of an effort to make a difference on a global level.

I now see that there is no separation — there is no such thing as “your people” or “our people” or “those people over there” — we are all human beings, with more similarities than differences. Ethnicity, socioeconomic status, religion, sexual orientation, education level — these don’t separate us if we’re all human beings co-existing on this planet. So, if there is no separation, then why do many of us donate our time or money primarily when disasters strike — why do we say “I’ll donate my time or money for this disaster because I want to help those less fortunate than me” but not more regularly? This isn’t the case for everyone, obviously, but indeed for many of us. For those of you are regularly donating time and money, you have my utmost respect and gratitude.

Although I do it periodically, I am not regularly “in the trenches” with those who need assistance — I could be making more of a difference by helping disadvantaged kids gain confidence to achieve their dreams, or I could be helping disadvantaged adults gain the skills needed to support themselves, or I could be serving meals to those who can’t feed themselves. Any one of these things on a regular basis would make a huge difference in their lives and for our world, and if everyone were doing things like that more regularly we would all be blurring the dividing line between the “haves” and the “have nots.” Imagine the results if we all did this more regularly!

In the past, I’ve said “I’m too busy right now, I’ll volunteer later.” But, quite honestly, “later” happens irregularly. Have you experienced this as well? If so, please know that my intent is not for us to judge or punish ourselves for the past choices we’ve made; instead, I see this as an opportunity for each of us to look deep within at the ways in which we want to contribute to the “greater good.” In that spirit, here are a few questions that I am pondering that might also be helpful for you to consider:

1. Where in my personal life and/or work environment am I TRULY making a difference to heal our world by directly helping those in need?

2. How do I feel about the direct impact I currently have on those in need? (Note: if you are already having the direct impact you want to have on the world, congratulations — acknowledge your efforts and celebrate your results!)

3. What are my unique gifts and talents that would benefit the world that I could be using more often to help others?

4. Where in my personal life or work environment could I be having an even greater impact directly to those who are in need, through hands-on work in my local community or elsewhere throughout the year?

5. Who could help me achieve my desired results as part of my “Success Team” in this endeavor — friends, family, work colleagues?

6. What are my “next steps” from here?