Every Monday, I'll try to write something that can help you live the life you want and make a difference in the world at the same time. This is in addition to the World Changers Interview Series we're going to have every other Thursday.
We're now taking Charging the Lines to the next level by focusing on helping you get started on the project, on the campaign, and on the revolution you've long been delaying. Whether it is a business, a not-for-profit organization, volunteering, or even just a hobby, our community will try to help you get started!
Unfortunately, this series is not for everyone. This series of blog posts will mostly be long posts of 1,000 to 2,000 words each. But, if you're trying to achieve great things in your life, if you're trying to become a World Changer, this series is for you!
Today, I'm sharing with you five things you can start with to live the life you want and make a difference at the same time:
1. Start with what you know
It's only natural for us to admire what other great people have done. But, if you really want to achieve great things in your life, start with what you already know. Start with what you are already good at, not what you still need to figure out how to do. Also, don't go for what's popular. Focus on what you already do well.
To be honest, I only started blogging in 2013. My training was really in accounting and finance. After all, I spent five years in college studying them and the first three years of my professional life practicing them. That's why when I started blogging, it took me more than a year just to get the hang of it. If you stray away from what you're already good at, it will take time to acquire the skills you need to succeed.
But of course, if your passion is in something else, pursue that even if you don't have the required skills yet. But, be prepared to put in a lot of hours. The learning curve is very steep. But, pursuing something you're passionate about but not skilled at is still better than pursuing something you're good at but not passionate about. No amount of practice can help solve that.
How about you? What are you starting right now? Are you starting with something you're already good at and passionate about?
2. Start with what you have
Whether it is an old laptop, slow internet connection, very little money to invest, or very little time to spare, start with the resources available to you. Don't wait until you buy a new laptop, get faster internet connection, have more "available" cash to get started, or even have more time. You can already create some results with what you have.
I'm sorry if I use myself as an example. I really try to avoid it, I promise! But, when I started this blog, I only used my cellular data plan which was limited to 1GB per day. I couldn't do much, but I could already do what I needed to do. It really taught me to focus on the essential things that could deliver the most results and leave the rest for later.
Also, I started this blog when I was unemployed. When I became employed again, I was able accomplish even more because I knew I had to maximize the very little time that I had.
Be resourceful. But, resourcefulness is not just about coming up with creative ways to get things done. It's also about getting the most results with what you already have.
Finally, remember that these resources are just tools to help you achieve great things. These great things are more important than your tools and resources. Focus on the great things rather than the tools.
3. Start where you are
There are so many hungry children in Africa. As I'm writing this article, the ebola virus is spreading fast. Then, there are peace problems in the Middle East. The world faces so many problems. But if you want to start making a difference now, start with where you already are.
Start solving your own problem and sharing your solutions to the world. If you're having a problem at something, chances are someone else is and he or she is looking for the same solutions.
You can also start solving the problems of your family, your friends, and your community. You are there for a reason. There are things that only you can do for them. You have been given a unique opportunity to do things for the people closest to you. You have been given a unique chance to experience the life they are experiencing.
Also, the people closest to you are the first one who can relate to what you're trying to achieve. They are the first ones who can benefit from the solutions you are offering.
Besides, in expanding your service or the great thing that you are trying to achieve, people will be more willing to help you if you are one of their own. People naturally want to see one of their own succeed in this life. Think about Lebron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers!
Before you conquer the world, make sure your homeland has your back covered.
4. Start with whom you know
Having a strong network is very important if you want to achieve great things. It is your network which will help you get things done, spread the word around, and even ignite your revolution. But there are three big mistakes we often commit when it comes to networking:
First, we connect with people we don't know. Start with the people you already know. It's easier that way. Say hi, ask how they're doing, tell them what you're up to, see how your work can help them, and ask them if they can also help you in any way, even by just spreading the word around. Giving help and asking for help, as hard to believe as it may sound, build trust.
I learned this from best-selling author Chris Guillebeau: create a mindmap of the people you know and separate them by how you are associated with them. Are they your family, friends, colleagues, or former colleagues? Then, contact them personally. Don't spam them or send them group messages. Connect with them individually and genuinely.
The second big mistake we commit: we connect with others to get them to help us. Remember, it's not about you. It's about the work that you do. It's about how your work can help them. When you make this internal shift, you'll be more comfortable in networking and you will no longer feel "unworthy" to change the world with your conquest.
The third big mistake we commit: we rely on big events and big efforts to network with others. Networking doesn't have to be through a formal meetup, a seminar, or even a party. Networking can be as simple as dropping a message on Facebook, following someone and sending him or her a tweet on Twitter, or even commenting to his or her own posts. Remember, the people you are trying to network with are humans too. They appreciate the simple things.
If you're more of a Twitter person, connect using Twitter! (By the way, recently, I've fallen in love with Twitter. Feel free to send me a tweet!) If you're more of the Facebook type, comment to their posts! But remember, it's not about you. Be true to yourself and to them. Build trust. Add value with each of your posts and comments. Most importantly, build genuine relationships.
Oh, before I forget: small, consistent effort leading to gradual results beats one big effort followed by a big crash every time!
Lastly, network not just because you need to get something done. Network because you want to meet new people, learn from them, expand your perspective, and experience the world with other people. Network simply because it's fun.
5. Start with your own story
To get people into your revolution, into the great thing you're trying to achieve, it's not just the message that counts. It's also the story. People love and get hooked on good stories. Also, stories are effective in helping others retain your message. Just think about the parables of Jesus and non-biblical proverbs. They are shared even to this very day. The parables of Jesus even ignited a revolution. Well, not exactly a revolution, but you know what I mean.
Let me give you an example. There was a very hungry fox who saw some grapes hanging high on a vine. He jumped high to reach them, but he failed. He tried even harder and jumped even higher, but to no avail. He mustered all his strength to try to reach them one last time. He jumped high like he never did before, but he still failed. Finally, he left and said, "You, grapes, aren't even ripe yet! I don't need some sour grapes."
Familiar? That's the origin of sour graping. That story is one of Aesop's famous fables and it's a story told even to this day. Well, maybe not the whole story, but who wouldn't know "sour graping?" That's the power of telling stories.
Whether you're starting a business, a blog, or even something not-for-profit, tell them a good story to join your revolution. But don't just tell them any story, tell them your story. After all, it's a story you know very well.
By starting with your own story, you don't have to look around searching for stories. You just have to look within yourself. Also, it helps people to get to know you more. More than your mission or your revolution, they want to know who you are!
You might worry, "What if people don't like me? What if people don't like my story? What if my story is not yet finished? What if I am not yet who I want to be?" Tell your story anyway. Tell them where you currently are, where you want to go, and what you're trying to achieve. Tell them who you want to become and how you want your story to end. Just be yourself. They will appreciate your honesty. After all, who doesn't?
Who knows? Maybe they'll follow not only your revolution, but also your whole life.
Finally, don't worry about not yet being who you want to be. You can leave that story for tomorrow.
Ready to Get Started?
Now that you know the five things you need to get started, what are you waiting for? Just get started now! Get a pen and a paper to plan how to get your dream started with these five things! I'll be back next Monday for more tips to live the life you want and make a difference at the same time!
Also, don't forget to visit the blog on Thursday for our first World Changer Interview!
Already a World Changer? Feel free to share your story with us here.
Image: JD Hancock on Flickr