The Mindset of Making a Difference

happy-sad-neutral-facesThere are a lot of good people in the world. Good people who want to make a difference, make an impact, or help others. They want their lives to mean something more. To know that they mattered to someone else.

The problem is they don’t know where to start or how. They have this longing. It usually stems from being disenfranchised by the status quo. If the feeling is ignored for too long, one can eventually become numb. Then they believe their time has passed and that ship has sailed. The real issue is three parts:

  1. They haven’t decided HOW they want to make a difference.
  2. They don’t yet have a biased for action.
  3. They try to eat the pizza from the outside.

They want to make a difference, and they look around at all the different ways, but they become overwhelmed with all the choices. And finally, they start doubting themselves. Instead of looking at all the ways we can make a difference, decide how we want to make a difference. By deciding this, we’ve accomplished two things: 1) We gain confidence by picking something within our strengths and expertise, and 2) we’ve narrowed our search. And of course, as we narrow our search we continue to search. Also keep in mind, picking a few things now, doesn’t mean you’ve pigeon-holed yourself for the rest of your life.

In addition, the key is catching ourselves when we start feeling any doubt. Doubt leads to hesitancy. Hesitancy leads to procrastination. Procrastination leads to complacency. Here’s the deal, we don’t always have to know exactly what to do. When in uncharted territory, while it’s good to have a plan, it’s okay to go slow and figure it out as we go. A Chinese philosopher once said, “we cross the river by feeling the stones.” Meaning when we are moving forward in new directions, we need to stay grounded, while incrementally feeling our way forward even in the face of uncertainty. The key is that we are making small steps.

Have you ever looked at a whole pizza and started eating it from the outside? No. You pick up a slice by the crust and start from the small pointy end. Sometimes it’s easy to get lost in the vastness when we can look around in our everyday environment:our home, our family our kids, their school, our own community. Start with your own home. Then slowly work your way outward. It’s the low hanging fruit, yet for some, the most difficult. The microcosm is a representation of the macrocosm. The issues aren’t “out there.” The issues start right here with ourselves.

Look around your world. Make a list of five ways or places you can start right now. Check those off every day, or carry the ones over you missed to tomorrow. Add to that list at the end of every day. By the end of 30, 60, 90 days, go back and review how much you’ve done. This will give you a good idea of where you want to move into the future. The world needs you! The world needs you!

Remember, this type of thinking doesn’t happen overnight. It takes time, focus, and PRACTICE!

Jade will be part of a panel of ExecuNet Career Strategists who will talk with members about the biggest job search roadblocks and how to knock them down. Click here for more details. 


Jade Goodhue

Jade Goodhue

Jade Goodhue has served in the United States Marine Corp as a company commander, a logistics officer, and a black belt martial arts instructor, as well as completed two combat tours to Iraq. In 2008, she earned her Six Sigma green belt while running Battalion-level Logistics in Iraq. After transitioning from the Marine Corps, she gained a myriad of financial sector experience. She worked her way up from a trader to the director of operations at a financial trading and education firm. During that time, she specialized in trading psychology. She now coaches on leadership development, as well as changing, developing, and sustaining an organizational culture. Jade holds a Bachelor of Science in Engineering and a Minor in Japanese from the United States Naval Academy. She is also earning her Master of Liberal Arts in Organizational Psychology from Harvard Extension School.

No Replies to "The Mindset of Making a Difference"