Social Responsibility and Social Consciousness for Changemakers

Balance of natureJust because you're already trying to serve doesn't mean you're immune from attack by the thought police or those who think you should go to great extremes to prove your commitment to building a better world.

The indicia of social consciousness and responsibility can be found all around. In fact, an entire cottage industry is emerging designed to advance the cause of doing good.

Don't get me wrong. I'm part of that group, and I wholeheartedly support their efforts to raise the consciousness of all to work toward rectifying the problems we've created for ourselves.

The problem is, when you're starting your mission, it's easy to get distracted by all the noise and detoured from the task at hand -- developing a viable, sustainable mission that makes the difference you're called to make. If you get caught up in all the good intentions (that too often come with mountains of paperwork, not to mention overhead and consultants like me to help you sort through it all), you just might find yourself falling along the wayside, unable to help anyone despite your best efforts and intentions.

There's only so much energy and attention we all have, and to build a mission requires a single-mindedness of focus that allows you to cut through the noise and do what needs to be done, without becoming detoured by all the things that you'd like to do or could be done.

In short, your mission will tell you what it needs. It will come with its own set of principles and perspectives, and to them you must be true.

Do You Recognize When You're Suffering from Mission Block?

On the obstacle course (25)So many things can affect the success of your mission. Most of them have very little to do with external factors.

Here's a list of some of the things that many people experience on their journey to make a difference:

How Do You Get Out If You've Painted Yourself Into a Corner?

DSC04217Let's face it. Sometimes we're our own worst enemies, doing more to sabotage our missions than most outer forces could do on their best day.

Perhaps one of the least understood but most insidious causes of mission block is one that is best described by that old familiar phrase -- painting ourselves into a corner.

Like anyone who's painted a floor knows, you make things a lot easier for yourself if you start at one corner and work toward a door so that you leave yourself an out. But when we do it the other way around, often we don't have an out. Our decisions become limited, and we force ourselves down a trail that probably isn't going to get us out of our mess, much less take us toward where we want to go.

Most of us don't do it that way when launching a mission. Instead, the tendency is to jump in head first and see where it leads. Too often, though, that causes us to bump up against things we've never dealt within us that now rear their ugly heads to derail our best efforts to move forward.

In the case of a mission that isn't serving us very well, I'm referring to the string of decisions and actions that brought us to this point.

Just like the painter with a floor full of wet paint, you are probably going to have to get your feet dirty to get out.

But before you blow up your mission and decide to start over, perhaps it might be a good idea to stop and think about those choices you made that resulted in the predicament you're in today.

Now, there are a thousand little decisions involved in our lives, and the launch and operation of a mission isn't any different. It would be impossible to review each and every one of them.

Besides, being one who tries to leave the past in the past and meet the moment on its own merits, I don't advise dwelling on all the things you could have done differently. Nor do I think you should beat yourself up for them, either.

Still, it is important to understand where you went off course. If you sit quietly and think back over your efforts to date, I suspect you'll find not one but a series of similar situations that arose that resulted in the same kind of action or inaction.

How do you define yourself?

Van Gogh's Self-Portrait at the Met (IMG_0635a)One of the biggest challenges facing most mission entrepreneurs is how they define themselves. For most were involved in other pursuits or careers long before they heard their inner call.

With each came a different aspect of their life experience. And most importantly, an expression of their identity, a statement of who they are and what they are about.

This is why it is so hard to change careers -- it inevitably demands we shed old identities and adopt new ones more suited to what we now are and want to become.

Nevertheless, old identities die hard, and their remnants often remain even once the old application is long since gone.

My own life drives home that point.

What Piece are You Adding to Build a Better World?

Question mark made of puzzle piecesThe gauntlet has been slapped across our collective faces and thrown to the ground. The question is, will we pick it up and fight the good fight? Or will we turn our backs and try to walk away?

This is a choice facing us all. The one we make -- and how -- will determine the future of our lives, as well as that of the world in which we live.

The many problems facing us are offering opportunities at every turn to get off our duffs and DO SOMETHING to make things better. Yet so many seem content to remain wrapped up in their own lives, leaving it to others to do something about.

If you're here, I suspect you are NOT one of them. Instead, you have at least heard, and perhaps are even answering, those inner urges to act.

The difficulties at hand, though, make that a tremendous challenge for the best of us. Energies are running strong, and bringing with them wave after wave of challenges to overcome.

The test for us all is to not allow those problems to waylay us and keep us focused so much on dealing with the difficulties that we lose track of what we're called to do or allow it to stop us.

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