I ran across these words in an email I received recently and couldn't help but feel they were a perfect metaphor for those who are making a difference in the world. Although you may never hear about them in the news, these people initiate and propel changes that may otherwise never occur. So the next time you are feeling under-appreciated and overworked just remember that the big doors of change can't swing open without you.
If you are interested in helping make the lives of others better you must reach out and connect with those who share those interests. Through those connections you will discover new ways to more effectively translate your hope for a better world into life changing actions that will make a positive and meaningful impact on the lives of those you touch.
Hope keeps you going, you hope you'll make a difference to someone, or you wouldn't even get out of bed every morning. Oftentimes, however, you become immersed in the daily grind, become discouraged and lose sight of the big picture. Thus, reaching out and connecting with others gives you the chance to break away from the grind and the feelings of isolation that come with doing good.
Speaking from a position of leadership, I certainly can attest to the reality of that feeling of isolation. The oft mentioned saying "It's lonely at the top" is very true. To overcome these feelings you must let yourself reach out, and help others find the opportunities to put their talents to use.
Through this outreach you leverage your hope, by igniting the flame of hope in others who desperately want to take action but either aren't sure how or just haven't been presented with the right opportunity. In so doing, you can create communities that are powerful forces for change. Forces that will inspire and magnify the hope of those who need it most, the people you serve.
I have experienced this hope being leveraged many times in my work with Lifting Up Lives. People who are really passionate about our mission may have heard about us for a year or more before they finally inquire about becoming involved. If it wasn't for our continual efforts to engage people, these individuals, many of whom play key roles in our organization, may have moved on to other opportunities. In retrospect, the success we have had has been primarily due to our continual outreach and efforts to make personal connections with those who share our interests and hopes for a better world.
The hope you ignite in those who have a shared interest in a cause is what brings hope to others, many of whom you'll never know. This chain of hope, when properly cultivated, becomes the consistent caring action that is the foundation for meaningful changes that will make the world a better place for everyone.
The Lifting Up Lives shelter workouts, which we do on the beautiful rooftop deck in San Francisco, are a perfect example of how our actions bring hope to those who are unknown to us. After many of months of conducting our program, one of the shelter directors mentioned to me how the people in the building across the street really enjoy our workouts, and even participate, all unbeknownst to us. This made me think, how many people in other buildings are being inspired by what we do? Probably more than we'll ever know.
All of this speaks to the fact that you can't keep great things to yourself if you want to make a positive impact on others. Thus, if you want to leverage your hope, the first thing you must do is let others know about it. So today, in your interactions, regardless of whether you are a community leader, current volunteer or someone who's just looking for the right opportunity to help make caring service possible, keep at the forefront of your mind the idea that shared hopes are the small hinges that swing the large doors of change wide open.
Make every day count!
Founder - Lifting Up Lives