I find that most people want to make a difference but are short of time or don’t know how. We can make a difference in many ways, some of which take little time. I share some of my favorites
Be mindful of our thoughts, words and actions. Often the most important thing we can do is to be aware of our imprint on others, and how our thoughts and words influence our behavior. How we speak with others, what we say and how we say it, affects others. Our actions have an impact. Each of us can make a difference today and each day by our words and actions. We just might brighten someone’s day with a smile or a compliment, or perhaps our own. Making a difference always starts with us.
Get involved with an issue you care about. This can include volunteering with an organization, campaigning on behalf of a cause or candidate, writing a letter to the editor, or other actions. What ignites your passion? There are so many organizations that need support, causes and campaigns that need more voices. Your voice matters.
Reach out to others from a different religion, ethnic group, country, political party, or point of view in your community. Invite them over for a conversation. I firmly believe that we have more similarities than differences, yet too often we focus only on the differences. Show curiosity and ask questions. You just might learn something and become a bridge builder. Or if you prefer, offer to be a home host for visitors from another country. Having been an exchange student, I know how important and fun cross-cultural exchanges are for the whole family and community.
Sign up to mentor a young person. There are many organizations that need mentors—ask around through your church or local NGOs. Also consider mentoring someone who is not necessarily young but wants to change careers or start a new organization or endeavor. Or find a mentor for yourself if you need guidance, support, or encouragement. We don’t need to go it alone, and mentors can provide meaningful support, suggest options we’d never considered, and steer us in new directions. I find it very rewarding to be a mentor and it is a way for me to give back the wisdom and experience I’ve gained.
There are many other ways to make a difference. Check out my book Our Voices Matter: Wisdom, Hope and Action for Our Time, with many action steps for each of the 20 chapters. Let your voice be heard. Your voice matters. www.kimweichel.org; www.ourvoicesmatternow.org.