How to Make the Difference You Really WantBy Homaira Kabir
An increasing desire for impact, personal growth and making a difference is changing the world. We see it in the series of shifts that are pushing us towards a purpose economy.
The forerunners in this urge to follow a higher purpose may have been the great minds of past centuries who wrote fervently about the need to see the self as part of something larger. Victor Frankl wrote about the need to find meaning through contribution as a primary human need. Danish philosopher Kierkegaard saw boredom as a life devoid not of stimulation, but of meaning.
But the early adopters of this message are certainly the millenials. They've been freed from the preoccupations of earlier generations to look after basic survival needs, and live by an inherent desire to make a difference to the lives of others and to the world they live in. No wonder psychologist Daniel Goleman says that the way to recruit good and energized talent is to do good, and essayist Pico Iyer writes of “the child of tomorrow” as someone who has connected to what is essential in life.
However, the information age places us in a unique quandary. The very technology that allows us to connect with others also risks disconnecting us from our own selves. Any action without this inner connection will fail to consider the important issues of the day and deprive us of the fulfillment we seek.
How are we to listen to our inner voice, recognize what is important and passionately pursue it so that we find fulfillment by making a real difference?
Get Comfortable with Silence
The digital age has made information available literally at our fingertips. And yet, this information is meaningless unless we can take out the time to synthesize it, and let it connect with what we are passionate about. The quiet moments of apparent “boredom” that we avoid like the plague, are the very mental spaces where the fragments of our lives piece together and meaning begins to emerge.
Honor this space and give it the time it needs to reflect on your past and connect to what is important.
Connect to Your Core
When we listen inwards, we hear the stories that come up again and again for us. These stories point not only to our strengths and values, but also our passions and sources of fulfillment. Without this essential self-awareness, we fall prey to societal expectations of success that do not reflect our inner worlds. No wonder we lose motivation for our goals, and find faint happiness if we do achieve them.
Connect to your stories and try and see a pattern that reflects your definition of success and happiness.
Fulfillment lies in the coming together of the best we have to offer with the needs we see around us. Once we are aware of the gifts we have, we begin to seek opportunities to bring them into play and make a difference to the lives of others. The digital age offers us far greater prospects of connection and far more creative ways of doing so.
Share your passions with like-minded people, and create a following that helps you in your journey to make a difference.
Just Do It!
When our plan of making a difference exists simply in our minds, anxiety and cynicism can creep into the gulf between where we are and where we would like to be. This is because too much time spent in the thinking stage can deplete us of the energy we need to take action. As Goethe said “Knowing is not enough, we must apply. Willing is not enough, we must do”. Knowing and doing go hand in hand.
What step can you take today in the direction of your goals?
Reflect and Reassess
Few initiatives go according to plan. The journey is rarely a smooth process. Instead it's a zig-zagging one, meandering through obstacles and challenges that present themselves on the way. As such, it is easy to lose direction unless we reflect and reassess often. People who have found both success and fulfillment are known to make it a daily ritual, such as a mindfulness practice that allows them to distill the chaos and reconnect to the clarity of purpose.
Which one will you incorporate in your every day?
The need to make a difference is real. Whether it's the natural progression towards a higher consciousness, or has evolved to help us rise to the challenges before us, it is nonetheless directing us towards a life of fulfillment. Unless we take it seriously, we will not be able to cross the tipping point where a good life will mean a life of doing good. For that is humanity’s ultimate pinnacle.
Homaira Kabir is a Women’s Leadership Coach and a Cognitive Behavioral Therapist whose practice is founded on the science of positive psychology. She empowers women to become leaders of their own selves in order to become leaders in relationships, at work and in life. To sign up to her free course on Finding Your Life’s Direction, visit her at www.homairakabir.com or connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.
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