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8 Ways To Change The World (That Really Work)

8 Ways To Change The World (That Really Work)

Many of us dream of changing the world from a very young age. We want to make a difference. Here’s 8 ways that will help you to achieve your dreams.

As you get older, that need to make that change usually becomes greater. Maybe you want to be a musician, tour the world and use your influence to give back. Or perhaps your goal is to start a company that will transform the business world or a non-profit that will end poverty. You might just want to help make some kind of positive change, whatever that looks like.

Big ideas are never easy to make reality. Changing the world doesn’t happen by accident. But achieving your dream will give you the greatest satisfaction you’ve ever felt. So here’s some advice to get you started.

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It Will Be Harder Than You Ever Imagined, But Still Worth It

This is not meant to bring you down, but to prepare you. It’s going to be harder than you think, it will cost more than you think and will take more time than you think. Be ready for that and you’ll be less likely to fail when the going gets tough. Don’t give up when things don’t happen quickly. Try not to overestimate what is reasonably achievable in the short term, but look more to what can be achieved through a life time of hard work and motivation.

Be Willing to Admit You Don’t Know It All

An up and coming ‘world changer’ should be humble and hungry. Humble enough to know that they don’t have it all figured out, still needing to ask plenty of questions and likely more wrong than right. But be hungry enough to break some rules, be bold and throw out tradition in service of chasing creative impulses wherever they might lead.

Listen to the stories of those around you, who share common goals. Identify the brokenness of our world so that you can be transformed through the stories of restoration and healing. Respond to the injustices of our world by working with others.

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Jon Foreman, lead singer of Christian rock band Switchfoot said, “In the effort to improve the art or craft of your work, don’t become so focused that you lose sight of the bigger picture: the humanity, the humour, the beauty, the pain of those around you”

Remember The Small Things, They Matter

Start from exactly where you are. You can’t change the world in a day, but there are small things that you can change. And small things add up. You might start off just doing something you’ve always wanted to – like a skydive, but for charity. This could lead to you organizing charity events with many people involved. And then before you know it, you’ve founded your own charity, supporting a cause that you feel passionately about. Don’t discount what you can do locally, regionally or for just one person. One random act of kindness can change the world for that one person. Every day you change the world. Even a lack of involvement is a decision with lasting ramifications. No matter who you are, your actions and thoughts every moment of every day have powerful implications for not only your life but the lives of others.

Allow Yourself To Grow

If you are going to help others then it is necessary for you to care for your own soul. Don’t overestimate your importance and take adequate time off. You are no use to the world if you are overtired, over-stressed and overrun. Discover yourself. Spend time alone. Turn off your phone and computer. Get involved with the messy humanity that lurks within and around you.

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Don’t Take On Too Much

Debbie Sterling, founder and CEO of GoldieBlox said, “Something I would have done differently is that I would have asked for more help from the start. I also thought, in the beginning, that [GoldieBlox] had to make a range of products. I had this idea that as a start-up, we had to work around the clock all the time until we were just about ready to drop. It spread my team really thin and wasn’t realistic.”

Instead of focusing on changing the world, focus on inner renewal, day by day. Set realistic goals and keep progressing all the time.

Never Be Afraid to Speak Up

One of the biggest challenges you might face is convincing other people to believe in your ideas. Constantly remind yourself to make your voice heard. It starts by speaking up in meetings and ends with going way outside of your comfort zone and establishing relationships with people you normally wouldn’t. Don’t sit on the sidelines. You have to get out there, make your own luck. See your dreams become a reality. You’re destined to succeed, if you believe your mission is greater than the company and you work hard toward that end. Put yourself out there in a big way and you’ll never be disappointed. You will find people who believe in your cause, and these are the people you want to be surrounded by in the long run.

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Don’t Worry Too Much About the Opinions and Expectations of Others

Don’t spend too much time obsessing over what others think about you. It is a waste of your energy and your assumptions about other people’s opinions will usually be wrong or irrelevant. It’s best not to guess at others’ thoughts, opinions and motivations and simply operate in love with all you encounter. Figuring this out will save you a lot of time and a lot of stress.

Let the Problems Lead to Change

Start by looking at what’s wrong and then figure out how to make things right. In particular, what most offends your sense of justice or breaks your heart? Where do you feel the pain of the world most passionately and personally? Once you discover that, find the other people who feel the same passion and pain for the same causes as you and work with them to make a difference.

This is how every movement for justice begins, and changing the world for the better really is as simple as that.

Featured photo credit: Boqlang Llao via flickr.com

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Last Updated on May 21, 2019

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

For all our social media bravado, we live in a society where communication is seen less as an art, and more as a perfunctory exercise. We spend so much time with people, yet we struggle with how to meaningfully communicate.

If you believe you have mastered effective communication, scan the list below and see whether you can see yourself in any of the examples:

Example 1

You are uncomfortable with a person’s actions or comments, and rather than telling the individual immediately, you sidestep the issue and attempt to move on as though the offending behavior or comment never happened.

You move on with the relationship and develop a pattern of not addressing challenging situations. Before long, the person with whom you are in relationship will say or do something that pushes you over the top and predictably, you explode or withdraw completely from the relationship.

In this example, hard-to-speak truths become never- expressed truths that turn into resentment and anger.

Example 2

You communicate from the head and without emotion. While what you communicate makes perfect sense to you, it comes across as cold because it lacks emotion.

People do not understand what motivates you to say what you say, and without sharing your feelings and emotions, others experience you as rude, cold or aggressive.

You will know this is a problem if people shy away from you, ignore your contributions in meetings or tell you your words hurt. You can also know you struggle in this area if you find yourself constantly apologizing for things you have said.

Example 3

You have an issue with one person, but you communicate your problem to an entirely different person.

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The person in whom you confide lacks the authority to resolve the matter troubling you, and while you have vented and expressed frustration, the underlying challenge is unresolved.

Example 4

You grew up in a family with destructive communication habits and those habits play out in your current relationships.

Because you have never stopped to ask why you communicate the way you do and whether your communication style still works, you may lack understanding of how your words impact others and how to implement positive change.

If you find yourself in any of the situations described above, this article is for you.

Communication can build or decimate worlds and it is important we get it right. Regardless of your professional aspirations or personal goals, you can improve your communication skills if you:

  • Understand your own communication style
  • Tailor your style depending on the needs of the audience
  • Communicate with precision and care
  • Be mindful of your delivery, timing and messenger

1. Understand Your Communication Style

To communicate effectively, you must understand the communication legacy passed down from our parents, grandparents or caregivers. Each of us grew up with spoken and unspoken rules about communication.

In some families, direct communication is practiced and honored. In other families, family members are encouraged to shy away from difficult conversations. Some families appreciate open and frank dialogue and others do not. Other families practice silence about substantive matters, that is, they seldom or rarely broach difficult conversations at all.

Before you can appreciate the nuance required in communication, it helps to know the familial patterns you grew up with.

2. Learn Others Communication Styles

Communicating effectively requires you to take a step back, assess the intended recipient of your communication and think through how the individual prefers to be communicated with. Once you know this, you can tailor your message in a way that increases the likelihood of being heard. This also prevents you from assuming the way you communicate with one group is appropriate or right for all groups or people.

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If you are unsure how to determine the styles of the groups or persons with whom you are interacting, you can always ask them:

“How do you prefer to receive information?”

This approach requires listening, both to what the individuals say as well as what is unspoken. Virgin Group CEO Richard Branson noted that the best communicators are also great listeners.

To communicate effectively from relationship to relationship and situation to situation, you must understand the communication needs of others.

3. Exercise Precision and Care

A recent engagement underscored for me the importance of exercising care when communicating.

On a recent trip to Ohio, I decided to meet up with an old friend to go for a walk. As we strolled through the soccer park, my friend gently announced that he had something to talk about, he was upset with me. His introduction to the problem allowed me to mentally shift gears and prepare for the conversation.

Shortly after introducing the shift in conversation, my friend asked me why I didn’t invite him to the launch party for my business. He lives in Ohio and I live in the D.C. area.

I explained that the event snuck up on me, and I only started planning the invite list three weeks before the event. Due to the last-minute nature of the gathering, I opted to invite people in the DMV area versus my friends from outside the area – I didn’t want to be disrespectful by asking them to travel on such short notice.

I also noted that I didn’t want to be disappointed if he and others declined to come to the event. So I played it safe in terms of inviting people who were local.

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In the moment, I felt the conversation went very well. I also checked in with my friend a few days after our walk, affirmed my appreciation for his willingness to communicate his upset and our ability to work through it.

The way this conversation unfolded exemplified effective communication. My friend approached me with grace and vulnerability. He approached me with a level of curiosity that didn’t put me on my heels — I was able to really listen to what he was saying, apologize for how my decision impacted him and vow that going forward, I would always ask rather than making decisions for him and others.

Our relationship is intact, and I now have information that will help me become a better friend to him and others.

4. Be Mindful of Delivery, Timing and Messenger

Communicating effectively also requires thinking through the delivery of the message one intends to communicate as well as the appropriate time for the discussion.

In an Entrepreneur.com column, VIP Contributor Deep Patel, noted that persons interested in communicating well need to master the art of timing. Patel noted,[1]

“Great comedians, like all great communicators, are able to feel out their audience to determine when to move on to a new topic or when to reiterate an idea.”

Communicating effectively also requires thoughtfulness about the messenger. A person prone to dramatic, angry outbursts should never be called upon to deliver constructive feedback, especially to people whom they do not know. The immediate aftermath of a mass shooting is not the ideal time to talk about the importance of the Second Amendment rights.

Like everyone else, I must work to ensure my communication is layered with precision and care.

It requires precision because words must be carefully tailored to the person with whom you are speaking.

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It requires intentionality because before one communicates, one should think about the audience and what the audience needs in order to hear your message the way you intended it to be communicated.

It requires active listening which is about hearing verbal and nonverbal messages.

Even though we may be right in what we say, how we say it could derail the impact of the message and the other parties’ ability to hear the message.

Communicating with care is also about saying things that the people in our life need to hear and doing so with love.

The Bottom Line

When I left the meeting with my dear friend, I wondered if I was replicating or modeling this level of openness and transparency in the rest of my relationships.

I was intrigued and appreciative. He’d clearly thought about what he wanted to say to me, picked the appropriate time to share his feedback and then delivered it with care. He hit the ball out of the park and I’m hopeful we all do the same.

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Featured photo credit: Kenan Buhic via unsplash.com

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