From Inspiration to Effective Action

Happy New Year everyone! For my first post of 2015, I wanted to share a resolution I made, and dive into what it actually means:

For me, this gets at the core of what this blog is all about – not just inspiring people to action, but inspiring people to action that is informed by facts. The truth is that there are many places along the way for the train to get derailed or run out of juice on the way from inspiration to action. In order to clear a path (or lay down some tracks if we’re sticking with the train metaphor), let’s first chart our course:

InspirationKnowledgeAction

Inspiration

We all have different things that inspire us and motivate us to work toward positive change. While getting inspired is Step #1, it’s also a challenge to keep up that level of inspiration and energy throughout your journey. If you’re starting to feel like your ambition and drive to save the world is slipping away, you may get a boost from looking at uplifting data and statistics. However, there’s no shame in cuddling up with a nice big helping of the warm and fuzzies. Remember, personal storytelling has a tremendous impact when it comes to stimulating empathy, and sometimes, that’s all you need to kick it into high gear.

Knowledge

It’s easy to jump from being inspired to wanting to take action right away, but if you want to truly have a positive impact, you have to do your research first. As I’ve addressed before, there’s a lot of misinformation floating around the internet. Make sure you have a solid understanding of the issue you are trying to solve, how it works, who it affects, and its consequences. For example, you might discover that while global poverty is improving, income inequality is getting worse, and this could inform the way you look at these issues.

Strategy

Once you have a solid understanding of the problem, it’s time to think about what you personally can do to address it. This is the part where you weigh your own priorities and resources against your ideas about what will be most impactful. For instance, you might learn that mentoring has a profound impact on the lives of children growing up in poverty. However, let’s say you don’t have the time to commit to mentoring a child, you could also have an impact by donating to organizations that provide mentoring or have data available about their impact on kids growing up in poverty. The good news is there are many different strategies you can take – ranging from volunteering or donating to just keeping impact in mind when shopping or posting on social media.

Take Action!

Finally, it’s time to get down to business and act on your strategy. While you’re on your journey, don’t forget to keep learning and don’t be afraid to change your direction if you decide it’s not right for you. And while you’re at it, don’t forget to stop and smell the inspiration roses. Good luck out there in 2015!

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