One of the toughest things to hear sometimes is that change starts with you. That knowledge can feel both overwhelming and empowering. On one hand, putting your focus on yourself can feel easier than believing the whole world must change for something great to happen. On the other, it can feel like a huge mountain to climb all by yourself.

Take heart; it’s great news to learn that the best and easiest way to make a change in the world is by making changes in yourself first. Being responsible for your own actions is plenty to manage on the way to influencing others.

When tragedy strikes, there are usually two reactions: depression, or an urge to make certain this doesn’t happen again. Two mothers can have a special needs child each and each of them will act or react differently. And one mother will play the woe is me pity card while the other mother will pull herself up on her bootstraps. One person may fall into a deep depression and retreat from life, and the other may use their issue as a starting point for making a difference.

People tend to make their biggest impacts in areas that mean a lot to them. A child who struggled with not having enough food to eat growing up might work as an adult to end hunger. Someone who didn’t have access to education might spend their time promoting literacy. I grew up in foster care and didn’t get mental health services and went to school to work in the mental health field.

There are as many unique ways to make a change as there are people on this planet. Let’s look at ways you can make an impact. Ask yourself these easy questions:

  • What is something I feel strongly about?
  • In what ways do I naturally give my time and my resources to help others?
  • What am I gifting of myself in my relationship to my community?
  • In what area of my character do I receive the most compliments?
  • What events have happened in my life to create space for concern and empathy for others?
  • What are the things I know how to do that can make life easier for others?

Asking yourself these simple questions will get you thinking about what matters to you, and what personal and unique experiences you have had that can help you make an impact.

You will realize that you already have the tools in your arsenal to do something, somewhere, that will ripple forth and make a change for the better. Move forward with confidence that you can make an impact, and that no matter how insignificant you feel in the grand scheme of things, you are vital and very much needed.

And if you want to create a different environment, change starts with you.

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