In my recent article titled The Ripple Effect, we looked at the far reaching impact a single step can have. Much like a splash in a lake, the ripple it creates can be much larger than the initial action or even intention. In this way, our willingness to take a step forward can make a much greater difference than we realize. This was the case for the Frutivera sweet corn project NicaWorks! started, as we explored in the article.
Maybe you are thinking, that’s great, but how do I make the first “splash”? What is “my” single step forward?
This is a great question and place to be! While I have written about it in the past, it is worth revisiting. The first step is often the most difficult, but it does not have to be complicated. It starts with simple curiosity.
When someone asks me how to start making a difference or bring hope to others, my recommendation is always to start by “getting curious”. Curious about what? Everything! Well, maybe not everything, but a lot of things. Get curious about your own story. Again, I have written about “mining your story“. This will help you better understand the role hope and resources have played in your life.
Get curious about your own perspective on people who find themselves in the position of needing assistance. What do you really believe about them and the way they ended up in their situation? Do you really believe there is hope for them? Coming to terms with your answers to these questions, whether inspiring or convicting, will help you be aware of any potential biases you have that could limit your ability to have an impact.
Get curious about why people really find themselves trapped in a seemingly hopeless circumstance. Digging beneath the surface of issues such as poverty allows us to see “upstream” and understand the source of the more visible problem. This is discussed at depth in my book Hope Realized, but often goes back to the lie of hopelessness, and the lack of a real opportunity or a distorted identity. The ability to see a problem for what it really is, instead of what we assume it to be, goes a long way in developing a real, difference-making solution.
Get curious about what you have to offer. You might be surprised by how useful the gifts and experiences you have could be in making a difference in the life of someone else. I have yet to meet a single person that does not have something to offer to someone who needs hope. This doesn’t mean every person is the right fit for every situation. Quite the opposite, in fact. It means that there is a right fit for every person. I would go as far as to say that there is a unique opportunity for each person to make a difference in the life of someone else. This means the world needs what you have to offer!
Get curious about what opportunities exist in your sphere of influence. If you begin investigating how you could get involved in serving others in your local community, or in a community to which you are connected, you will be surprised how easy it is to get plugged in. Very rarely if ever have I come across an organization that has too many volunteers or supporters. It could take a little work on your part, but if you get curious about how can use your gifts to help those around you the opportunities will abound.
Get curious about what your first step is. In stating that there is a right fit for every person, it could lead to an assumption that you have to find your perfect fit before you can do something. That would be an incorrect assumption. I have found that the best way to find your fit is by getting involved. Taking a step to participate will allow you to determine if the opportunity is the right fit. If it is not, it will give you more clarity on the next option to pursue. The key is just to take a step and remain curious in the process. You first step will help you see the next step you should take. Just do something.
If you want to be intentional about your ripple effect, it starts with simply being curious. It does not have to be complicated. A willingness to be curious and to follow through with where your curiosity leads you is all you need to get started. If we all take a step, the collective ripple will be life-changing, and maybe even world-changing.
If you would like another resource to help you take a step, check out my free guide, 5 Foundational Steps to Make a True Difference in Someone’s Life. Click here to access this resource, as well as receive regular tips and ideas to help you live an impactful life.
What to make a difference? Be simply curious!
Click here for more resources to help you bring hope to others!