I am having a lot of conversations with people these days about all the needs around us. The challenges are many—political issues, climate change, violence, loneliness, stress, poverty, lack of mobility, and diversity issues to name just a few on a larger level. There are countless challenges in workplaces and homes. There is conflict, polarization, stress and the challenge of the need to be innovative and do more with less, find skilled workers and create engaged environments. There is disruption on all levels.
When people lament over the issues there is often a feeling of helplessness. What can one person or a small group do? Most of us are already quite busy and are not sure we have the time or resources or ability to make an impact.
I have been encouraging myself and others to engage in micro-projects. We can indeed make a difference with our presence. The first thing we can do is ensure that we are open to others and to listen and be kind to those with whom we interact. It is understood that Ben Franklin used to begin his day by asking, “What good can I do today?” Even a kind greeting can make a difference since emotions are contagious.
We can also take on a micro-project. Identify an area that interests or concerns you and take one small step. It could be engaging with others on the issue, sharing information and researching what others are doing. Perhaps you talk to one of your favorite restaurants about an alternative to plastic straws. A person I know put together a handout about efforts being done to cause less harm to animals in research and shared the developments with friends and colleagues. Another project can be to build relationships between Marketing and Sales in your workplace or support elderly neighbors. Another colleague started a discussion with neighbors about racism in their city.
Research shows that we have a greater sense of wellbeing when we are working toward a goal or purpose we care about. In addition, when you connect with others who care about similar issues your connections also support wellbeing. Small initiatives and efforts do make a difference. I have heard many stories about how one positive interaction has encouraged others to take action.
One of my projects is inspiring people to recognize the power of being open and to coach people to take steps with a project that is meaningful. When we are open and engage in positive conversations we create new possibilities.
Identify one area that you care about and begin to learn more and look for one small action you can take. Commit to one small micro-project as an experiment and see what develops.