If you're trying to figure out how you'll leave your imprint on the world, start by thinking about what bothers you.
What do you not like about the world? What is irritating? What is unfair?
Keep calm and carry on was the message for people in Britain during World War II. I like get excited and change things better.
As fun as that is, though, the thing about change is that when it gets too personal, most of us don't actually like it. That's why it's easier to work on change in small doses. How can we take one tiny step towards something new?
Be aware: if something bothers you, you're probably not the only one. Mobilizing people to improve things is powerful. As mentioned before, this is my personal year of scale and reach... but I've also been thinking a lot about the theme of empowerment.
As I consider it, empowerment is helping people to consider new possibilities and take courageous actions. This is the essence of leadership, as John Quincy Adams said --
"If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader."
Few leaders are appointed anymore. Instead, leadership comes through influence -- when you influence someone, you're an instant leader. If you look around and can't figure out who the leader is for something that bothers you, step up! Followers need leaders. We'll follow you when you give us a direction and an action plan.
By the way, if you don't like thinking about what bothers you, you can also think about what excites you. Then you think about what you can change so that other people can get excited too.
What are you excited about? How can you create some kind of change around that?
P.S. "Get excited and change things" is also a good business plan. If you're struggling to create something, leave the 65-page "target market analysis" behind and adopt this five-word strategy. See what happens.
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