I was listening to an interview with Donald Miller and he said a few things that I had to replay a few times to really hear and understand.
The first was:
You change the world by doing the work, getting up every day and doing your work.
Then a couple minutes later he threw out this gem:
There is nothing like saying no in order to do your work if you want to change the world.
Wow, that is a powerful reminder.
I’ve been pondering this and realized that I say yes to things (bright shiny objects, entertainment, distractions…) that keep me from doing my work.
My work as a caregiver, writer, book publisher, entrepreneur, family member, friend, photographer. Saying yes too much also keeps me from being purposeful and intentional in my life.
I like bright shiny objects and new ideas. I get energized by new opportunities and possibilities. I love talking about them, brainstorming and exploring strategies.
The trouble is that by doing this I either never get anything done because I am always distracted by something new, or I run myself ragged trying to keep up with it all.
5 Steps to Start Changing The World
Step #1 – Define what is your world
What is the world you want to change? Is it you yourself? Is it your family? A particular group of people?
Your world might be a big group, it might be a more intimate group of 3-4, or it might just be you! It doesn’t matter the size of the world you want to change, the same principles apply. But you do need to know and understand that world.
Assignment: Define what world you want to change this summer
Step #2 – Identify the change you want to make
It is also important to define the change you want to make. Is it how you spend your time, how you take care of you, your family, or your community? What is the change you want to make and see?
Assignment: Identify and write out the change you want to see, share or make.
Step #3 – Define your why
Why do you want to change the world? Are you needing to make self-care a priority so that you be more effective in your role as caregiver, Mom, wife, friend, and/or family member?
Has a message or a calling been placed on your heart that you cannot ignore?
Have you learned valuable lessons that you know others could benefit from and know that by sharing you can make an impact in their lives?
Understanding your why of wanting to change the world is vital as you as you create goals and the plans to meet those goals. It is also is key to helping you to climb over the obstacles that will land in your path as you journey toward that goal.
Assignment: Dig deep, look at your why. Don’t just think about it. Write it out, and revisit your why often!
Step #4 – Create a plan to change your world.
I’m notorious for having a big goal, getting close to the finish line only to have all the little detaily stuff staring me in the face and then get distracted by something that looks and sounds easier and a lot more fun. After awhile, I get back to the original goal and slowly finish it. I’m a great starter, I’m a terrible finisher.
So what to do? First, you actually need to make a list of goals. Second, you need to review these goals OFTEN!
When I don’t regularly review my goals, that is when I get derailed and easily sidetracked by fun new ideas. When I keep track of these goals and check off boxes of the steps in my plan to reach these goals, I make progress and remember what I am working towards. It takes self-discipline to regularly review my goals and keep working at them.
Assignment: Pick 2-3 goals you would like to accomplish this summer to start changing your world. Write them out, put them somewhere where you will see them on a regular basis and schedule a regular check-in time to review your progress.
Step #5 – Learn to say no, even to good things
This one is hard! You don’t want to disappoint people, you want to help out when needed, but you can’t do it all. And you can’t be working on 10 different things at once and expect to get anywhere fast.
There are a lot of things we need to look at saying no to:
- TV and Movies
- Facebook, or social media in general
- Having junk food in the house that will sabotage your diet
- Going to bed so late that you are not getting enough sleep
- More research because you need to learn one more thing before you start going for your goal
- Filling the calendar with activities that keep you from reaching your goals and changing the world
- Comparing yourself to others because their journey, their why, and their goals are different than yours
- Saying yes because you don’t want to disappoint someone
Assignment: Write out 5 things you need to start saying no to.
Want to change the world? Start by being purposeful
The size of the world you want to change doesn’t matter. Learning to define your world, your why, creating a plan and learning to say no applies to just about every part of our lives.
The only way to make changes on any level requires that we be purposeful in our steps to pursue change.
Want to change the world? It is okay to start small
It really is. It’s okay to start with simple, realistic goals to help make small changes. Small is the new big right!? A series of small goals accomplished can mean big changes in the end. Start where you are at, go for the small wins and build on that momentum.
Want to change the world? Start this summer, start today
Summer is a great time to put these steps into practice. The kids are out of school or soon will be, and there will be a lot we want to say yes to and a lot we want to do.
Using these 5 steps will help you make positive changes in not only your life but also in the lives of those around you.
What do you need to start saying no to?
Marta Goertzen is an entrepreneur, writer and nature photographer. She daily explores the trails and beaches of the South Central Oregon Coast with her buddy Bailey. You can follow along on their adventures on Instagram. She is also the author of several books including her newest, “Choosing Gratitude: A Daily Quiet Time Journal”.