You might think the difference you can make is insignificant. I too had that belief five years ago. I thought to myself “What can someone like me living in Australia, with average financial means, do to make a difference in the world?”
When we think about making a difference we fall for the myth that what we start out doing has to be enormous to have any effect. I’ve learned it doesn’t.
We’ve all had that spark of inspiration where we’ve wanted to do something that will outlast our physical form. Then we share the idea with friends, family and work colleagues and get told to quit while we’re ahead.
I’m telling you not to quit. I’m telling you that any ordinary person can make a difference in the world.
I began blogging in 2014 and thought it was only ever going to be a side hobby that was a bit of fun. Fast forward to now and I’m reaching millions of people a month and inspiring people to live a better life and help others along the way. If I can do it, you can too.
Here’s how an ordinary person can make a difference in the world:
Start by believing in something bigger than yourself.
Making a difference in the world begins with the belief that you can do something that doesn’t just benefit yourself.
When your only goal is to serve yourself, the meaning you get from that goal won’t fuel the actions you need to execute on it and make a real impact.
When your sole purpose is to believe in something bigger than yourself, you act differently.
You take into account what the problems are in this world and then hopefully choose one to solve. Making a difference won’t happen unless you remove your ego, remove self-interest and shoot for the stars.
One action leads to another. You’ll never predict the outcome
Writing a blog article about a company that had five employees back in 2014 seemed insignificant. That article led me to write about my own story which went viral all over the Internet.
If I never chose to start writing in the first place, then I would never have stumbled across that one idea that fuelled everything else I did.
Taking small actions will feel insignificant at the time. Most of us ordinary folk don’t set out to launch rocket ships into space. We start out doing one thing we love and go from there.
The step that everyone misses when trying to make a difference in this world is the action part. We get stuck in overthinking, opinions from our network and dreaming about a perfect idea.
“Disconnect from the outcome and aim your energy into achieving something small first”
The results will come as you hone your craft and find your audience.
Inspire one person first
The easiest way to think about making a difference in this world is to inspire one person first. All of us can inspire at least one person, to begin with. It’s a simple, measurable and an achievable goal that will show you what’s possible.
There’s no need to aim for millions of people when one person can be the catalyst for everything you do going forward.
The one person I inspired when I started writing was my girlfriend at the time. She had a dream to become a travel blogger but never got started.
She watched what I was doing online and she became my first true fan. She used what she learned from me to finally start having a go at her own dream.
Watching her feel inspired made me want to keep going. I saw the potential I had from having just one single fan.
The first person you could inspire may be a family member or friend and that’s perfectly fine.
Find a mission you care about.
“Adopting someone else’s dream will only see you fail”
You’ve got to find your mission. What is it that is going to help you to make a difference in this world. I thought my unique idea was sharing the stories of entrepreneurs to fuel the growth of more startups who could be the change makers instead of me.
I did around twenty interviews with startup founders and hated every minute of it. Everyone else was doing the exact same thing and it didn’t utilize any of my talents.
I wanted to share my story because it had fewer highlights and was more relatable. I wanted to focus on failures instead of successes.
“I was passionate about self-development yet the entrepreneurs I was interviewing were all about capital raises, minimal viable products and pitch decks. So, what I did was quit. I said no to doing any more interviews and began to write from the heart”
This writing led me to my mission which was to inspire the world through entrepreneurship and personal development.
I decided to use social media as the enabler to spread my message. I then added public speaking to my metaphorical tool belt and delivered the message in person.
This mission was something I cared about. I needed no motivation to wake up in the early hours of the morning and write inspirational blog posts that made a difference. You have the same opportunity as me. My advice would be this: Pick a mission you care about otherwise you’ll never execute.
Work on it after hours.
Ordinary people like you and I go to work during the day. We don’t sit on the beach with a laptop sipping martini’s and checking our PayPal account to see if we can afford another Ferrari.
Making a difference requires work — sorry to tell you that. I used the mornings before work and the evenings after dinner to schedule content, add pictures, format articles, grammar check my blog posts and make a difference.
I gave up my Saturdays to write all day so that I’d have a week’s worth of content. I learned to batch similar tasks together so that I could generate the most amount of output with the least amount of mental energy being dissipated.
“If I were waiting for the doctor, going ten floors in a lift or standing by for a meeting to start — I’d be engaging with my readers and trying to make a difference”
Be the example you wish to see in the world.
Complaining about the world’s problems achieves nothing. You can’t make a difference by just stating the obvious.
Use your own actions as a demonstration of how others can create change.
- If you’re sick of homelessness, then show us there’s another way.
- If you’ve got some strategies to solve mental health issues, then make a video about them using your own life as an example.
- If pollution and rubbish are a problem you’re passionate about then document how you’ve reduced wastage in your home.
It’s time to stop talking and start leading by example. Become the doer and show the complainers how they can make a difference too through your own example.
Be the light in somebody else’s darkness.
You’ll make a difference without even realizing it.
The difference I made early on in my writing seemed to be zero. There were no emails from fans, likes on social media or high-fives in the street.
It was easy to believe that I was affecting no one. Around twelve months in I got a message from a fan named Torio.
He’d been watching what I was doing and changed his life because of what he’d read. People will be watching and you won’t even know it. Don’t expect the instant gratification of social media to be a requirement for you to make a difference.
Your impact will often go unnoticed and that’s how it should be.
If you want attention for making a difference, then you’re playing the wrong game. People will figure out your motives and probably switch off.
Know that you can make a difference without being told you are. That very belief will serve you well if your unique idea reaches millions later on.