How to Effect World Change Without Quitting Your Day Job
Work + Life Balance

How to Effect World Change Without Quitting Your Day Job

YOUR DAY JOB MAY PAY THE BILLS, BUT YOUR PASSION MAY LIE ELSEWHERE. INTERESTED IN COMBINING A DESIRE TO DO GOOD WITH LEARNING MORE ABOUT YOURSELF ? IT STARTS WITH SMALL STEPS AND THE TASKS YOU CAN ACCOMPLISH TODAY.

You’re a busy lady, but with all the heart-wrenching stuff you’ve seen on the news lately something’s been tugging at you. Call it your conscience, your inner rebel or a quarter-life crisis, but you’re feeling an increasingly strong urge to do something meaningful in your free time.

But where do you find the space to contribute alongside your day job, your yoga classes and Wednesday night wine with gal pals? And how do you make sure you don’t commit to something you’ll end up regretting or have a hard time backing out of? Here are some tips for getting involved without disrupting your delicate work-life balance.

TAKE THE PRESSURE OFF. EXPLORE WHAT LIGHTS YOU UP. 

First: realize you’re not individually going to change things overnight by volunteering at a soup kitchen. Our world’s societal ills are complicated and an entire industry of development workers, activists and civil society leaders have dedicated their blood, sweat and tears to trying to improve things. It’s a slow and frustrating process, and realistically, you’ll only play a minute part. That’s the bad news.

The good news is that now that the pressure’s off, you can do whatever you want! To use the words of civil rights leader Howard Thurman: “Don’t ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive and then go do that. Because what the world needs is more people who have come alive”.

Unless the thought of grassroots community development in Botswana seriously lights you up, stop feeling pressured to sign up for the Peace Corps. Instead, ask yourself this: what activities or actions make me feel the most alive, and how might I be able to put those to use for a greater cause?

“Don’t ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive and then go do that. Because what the world needs is more people who have come alive”.

THINK IN PASSION PROJECTS. NOT ADDITIONAL CHORES. 

We all hate chores because they zap your limited time and energy. So let’s be honest, you’re not exactly looking for more of them to add to your daily to-do list. Passion projects, however, are activities you engage in because they give you something. Whether it’s professional connections, insight in a new industry, or new connections, passion projects provide the opportunity for you to to explore shifting professional interests and work towards your own personal goals - without taking undue risks or giving up your financial security. 

Hold your volunteer work to these standards. If the project or activity doesn’t pay you back in energy and inspiration - it probably ain’t your passion project, lady.

Ask yourself this: which other sides of myself would I love to explore more right now - and how can I do that in a short-term, flexible format either for a do-good organization, a person in need, or myself? Your answer is a passion project.

CONSIDER YOUR END-GAME.

Still not sure what you want to do? Consider the goals you’re working toward in your own work and life. Do you want to get out of your comfort zone more? To work against a social injustice you’ve experienced? Contributing your free time to something fulfilling (even if it’s just a few minutes a day, even if we’re all too busy with ongoing commitments already, even if now isn’t the right time) will allow you to work towards your end-game regardless of day job commitments or unavoidable distractions.

Ask yourself this: what do I envision for myself down the line, and what small steps can I do right now to work towards it? Effecting change doesn’t require dramatic risks or breaking your back. Start with today. {Click to Tweet}

At the end of the day, know that any volunteer work you decide to engage in should serve your own goals first and that of the organization you’re doing it for second! Once you start from that basis, making an impact in your free time not only becomes easier, but (more importantly) more fun.

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Are you trying to make a difference little-by-little? We want to know about your passion projects! Tell us in the comment section below.