Make a Difference Where You Are

I was this close to going to law school.

In a quarter-life crisis, before quarter-life crises were a thing, ignoring my heart’s desires, my exploration of “respectable” careers – where respectable was code for lucrative jobs that my parents would understand – led me to taking the law boards.

Correction. Rocking the LSAT. Nuts, now the decision’s 100% on me.

My never applying to law school lurked, hidden in my memory for ages, until last weekend.

Seeing ACLU attorneys descend upon airports around the country solely to protect the rights of people they’d never met, got me thinking about my untraveled career path.

No regrets. Many questions.

Questions you may ask yourself, too, when you see folks making a difference while serving others.

How can I create meaning, make a difference, and do good without rebooting my whole life?

Beyond donating, rallying, calling, faxing (in 2017!) and freaking out on social media, what can I do, really, to make a difference?

If I’m not an attorney?

Not wealthy? Not in a position to get another degree? Not blessed with tons free time?

You don’t have to uproot, reboot or tear down your whole life to do important work fuels you and serves others.

You do need to take a bit of time to consider these:

Strengths and Skills

To figure out how to make a difference while fueling yourself and serving others, start by considering your strengths and skills.

Your strengths are the ways of being and doing in the world that come naturally to you. You probably rarely notice them – most of us are awesome at discounting our strengths simply because they’re so natural to us – but they’re always there. In fact, it’s pretty impossible for you to not use your strengths without eventually feeling depleted.

Skills are things you do that get better with practice. Your persuasive writing may make you great at crafting sales campaigns, but, you would have had to be born a marketing prodigy (is there sure a thing?) to have been born with the skill level the comes from honing your writing chops through practice.
Let the strengths and skills that come most naturally and feel the best be your guides as you seek ways to make a difference where you are.

Values and Priorities

I’m all about positive language and thoughts, but the most concise way I can explain values is that they’re the flip side of the lines you refuse to cross.

Can’t imagine not giving someone the benefit of the doubt? You likely value forgiveness and mercy. Unable to not ask questions about, well, everything? Curiosity is a big value for you.

In this context, think of your priorities as the strengths, skills and values you want to be more prominent in your everyday life right now.

Place, Means and Others

Once you have a handle on your strengths, skills, values and priorities, consider where, how and with whom you want to use them to make a difference while fueling yourself and serving others.

Place is about where, and can include everything from geography to size of team or organization.

Means means how – things like full-time, part-time, project-to-project, freelancer or any of a number of combinations or successions of work modes.

Others includes the people you work with as well as those served by your work.

Put It All Together

When you get clear about what you have to offer and the ways in which you want to make a difference, instead of wistfully remembering the choices you didn’t make the next time you see others rocking their power to make a difference, you can feel even better about the ones choices you did make.

And the difference you make in the world. Every single day.

 

Need help figuring out how to make a difference in a way that lights you up? That’s one of my specialties that lights me up. Let’s talk about I can help. Email me here to schedule a complimentary 30-minute inquiry call. 

 

image: unsplash; used with permission

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