Are you feeling the pull of consciousness? To become aware of the social, political, environmental and ecological impacts of our place here on earth? Are you feeling helpless about the change you can affect beyond donating and want to know how you can help by applying your own skills, talents and interests?
Being able to create the change you want to see is a big part of feeling fulfilled. And it goes beyond just donating dollars. You want to actually use your skills. The best way to affect change is to know how change works and find the intersect of your talents, skills and interest to the part of the system you are trying to change.
How the system for change works
First, it’s important to know how change works. Taking a systems approach, change can be affected when you can shift the events, behaviors, structures or beliefs that hold a system or problem in place. So the sweet spot of your contribution is where your talents, skills and interest can shift an action, construct or belief in the system.
For example, if you love to design and your cause is the environment and reducing waste, start by taking a look at the beliefs, structures and behaviours that contribute to a specific waste problem and see where your unique talents and skills may help shift a small piece of that system. Your sweet spot could be designing signage or unique waste receptacles that aim to change a certain behavior. Or maybe your talent is in photography, so maybe your best intersect for change is to use your images to help shift a belief.
Knowing what change you want to affect and what skills or talents you have can help you understand the part or parts of the system you are best able to shift.
Three ways you can create change, beyond donating dollars:
1. Use your skills directly to support an organization that is aligned with a cause you care about.
For example if you are a writer, maybe it’s writing compelling marketing campaigns for an organization that has a mission you care about. Or maybe you are an interior designer so you may choose to use more sustainable or ethical decor and fabrics in your designs. Zoom in on the piece of the system you are trying to change, rather than whole problem.
2. Use your knowledge to teach and show the path to change
What do you know that you can teach to shift the mindset, behavior or structure of the system? For example, maybe you are a nutritionist and you want to create a healthier planet, you can teach people new recipes, portions or habits that enable people to eat less meat (a huge contributor to planetary health). Shifting the structures like the portions and recipes people use, can help nudge those who wonder what a low meat diet might look like and show them how to do it easily.
3. Call out the constructs
Sometimes the best intersect of your talents, skills and interests is simply in calling out the constructs that hold a problem in place. What are the structures, beliefs or behaviours that are contributing? Use your skills and talents to confront or highlight the components of the system that need a light shone. For example, maybe it’s writing and exposing the structures that hold a certain set of behaviours in place, or maybe it’s teaching mindfulness as a direct way to call out a set of beliefs that need to be changed.
Creating change doesn’t have to just be about donating. Nor does it have to be overwhelming, you don’t need to tackle the entirety of a problem. The sweet spot lies in knowing that there are parts of the problem in a system and that you are best equipped to nudge a particular spot with your unique talents, skills and interest.