What do you want to change in the world?

Copyright © Jenn Shallvey
Copyright © Jenn Shallvey

Question time…

Time to go a little deeper, if you dare. If not then it’s ok. Really.

What do you want to change in the world?

If you had a platform to share your message to help others what would you want it to be about?

How do you align with words like social entrepreneurship? Social change?

How do you see business enabling social change?

Consider events you attend and what inspires you.  When you leave these events what is it in your heart that the speaker said or did that motivated you?

Why do you do what you do?

Why did you start down the path of what you do?

Where are you now in comparison with this?

Are you doing what in your heart you wanted to be doing when you first chose this path?

What needs to change? In you? In the way you work? Where you work? How you work?

Who are you serving? Are you truly holding their best interests at heart? Have you lost track of what these are? Is there a disconnect?

You and the way you respond

You are one person. You have one voice. Who are you to hold back your voice? Who are you not to do what you came here to do? It is not arrogant to step forward, it is your responsibility. But how you do is up to you.

Some people want to be activists, blow their trumpet, make noise and get your attention. Others may wish to work behind the scene.  Both are going to create change are they not? What are the consequences of each action and method? People prefer each. People respond differently to each.

Appreciating the unacknowledged

Did you wake up today thinking to yourself today I am changing the world? Or did you just wonder what you were having for breakfast. Both are ok. Really they are. Because even people who change the world need to eat breakfast.  Then however there is another twist. When you did eat your breakfast what did you eat? Where did what you eat come from? How did you get your food? In other words how easy was it for you to eat breakfast? Just think about that for a minute. Wow. It is pretty amazing isn’t it.

I go to a café where they list on their menu the names of the farmers that supplied the produce used in the meals prepared. I don’t like cooking. So I eat a lot at this café. So I do think of how my breakfast got to me. I do appreciate the person working in the café. I do consider that there are buyers and decision makers in the café choosing to source this food. Each person in the chain is making a difference. Each person is making a choice.

All these relationships though are mutual. The farmer chooses to farm the vegetable. This is their contribution. This is their choice. They are actually changing the world and do not even realise it. You see they may not be yelling and screaming about it but they are working every day to bring me organic sustainably produced food.  I have yet to visit a farmer who does this for me. I still do appreciate what they do. I do value that this is a choice that they make. I also truly value and appreciate that someone loves to cook more as much as I love to eat their food.

Interdependence with a disconnect

There is a symbiotic relationship in all we do. We are not individual islands. We are not all living on our own self sourcing, self growing. We are interdependent in our society. So it pays to notice doesn’t it? So look around and appreciate. Truly wonder at the way the system actually works.

I sit here in my world and thank the people who make my lifestyle possible.

Difference and inequity

My son is traveling in Asia. He pays 50 cents for a beer, $4 for a full meal, maximum $20 for a single room in a hostel. His full meal is a coffee for me. 50 cents is rounding on some transactions. His room is a breakfast for me. It is not about the money actually, but it is.  We pay for what we value. Also if we do not value what we offer we do not get paid for what we are worth.

I look at the inequity that is ever increasing in this world. It is becoming topical. If it is not in your face and reality because of where and how you live then it is becoming topical online. Yes, the conversation, the difficult one we all need to have, is emerging.  I am reading articles and reports from WEF, DAVOS, Stephen Hawking and others. There is a doomsday threatening element. And there also is a dose of reality. Time to pay attention. Technology is our friend and our foe. Automation and the like is enabling a bigger divide between haves and have nots. The divide between people subsisting versus thriving. I am not here to say oh poor them and turn everyone into victims. I am however really thinking these days of the system and the balance. What is happening is we are tuning out. We don’t want to know. We don’t want to listen.

Taking a pulse on society

Every day I read the headline stories that pop up on the bottom of my home page on my laptop. The feed is powered by one of the large search engines. I will then also switch to a news source like The Guardian. The difference in focus is enormous. On one hand it’s about celebrity break ups, disasters and collectively rubber-necking over personal tragedies of people we do not know.  Then there are the ‘manufactured’ news items (I won’t go as far as saying fake news’) where the only purpose is to increase web traffic. Guilty. I clicked.  Yet so did thousands and millions of others. The trend is an interesting reflection of our society. I am looking at the world through this lens. I am seeing people paying attention to these things. I am seeing the commentary. It is genuinely fascinating what we think is important.

So I step back. I consider the popular escapism and distractions we choose to enjoy at the expense of much greater world problems. How do we reconcile the two? Will we ever? Is ignorance going to be the downfall of many? I sure hope not. This is not about telling people to turn off reality TV and watch a documentary. It is much bigger than that. It is about consciously being aware of more than our selves, finding our place in the day to day of life and the broader aspects of the society we live in.  It is also about enjoying what makes us happy without feeling guilty or hurting others in the process. Escaping with a good TV show for entertainment might be just what we need to reset and rebalance. Others might prefer another outlet. No judgement in this. The juxtaposition is more to say what about the rest? It’s not just about the entertainment.

Everyone just wants to live the life they enjoy

I go back to the comment above. Each individual matters. Not everyone is here to be a leader in business, politician or high profile change agent. Some of us are in the audience while others are on the stage.  Yet whether on the stage or in the audience we share our humanity. We have a lot more in common than we don’t.  In every culture there are new and old. People connecting with others that never knew each other existed before. Some are changed by this opening up others not.

We want to enjoy life. We want freedom. We want to be who we are without others stopping us. We want to live by our beliefs. We want to be able to get up in the morning enjoy having breakfast and not worry about how to pay for it, where to get it or if we will be safe while eating. It is that simple.

Yes there is enormous difference in the world.

My question really is then how within each one of us are we creating change. How are we in our own taking responsibility for our own lives? Then by being true to ourselves and standing in our own light how are we being examples for others.  We may not be on a stage or leading a movement but we are always and forever able to be responsible for our choices, our actions and our impact in this world.  It may be a little or a lot. Something needs to change. What do you think it is in your view?

Changing the world means not changing others but changing the way we see and relate to people we do not understand.  It also means adapting, adjusting and accepting.