Young people are our future and their fresh thinking will change the world. They possess the optimism that their elders replaced with a cynical, can’t-do attitude. Unfortunately, their impact may not be as profound nor as immediate as they may hope for.
We all want to know we matter and can make a difference in the world. When we think about people who have made a difference, we often think about world leaders, business moguls, and star athletes.
Barack Obama, Mark Zuckerberg, and Serena Williams have undoubtedly changed the way we dream, communicate, and live. We all know who they are and they will certainly be featured personalities in the next generation of digital textbooks.
How to find a career that gives you more than money
Ironically, most of the people changing the world are not in the spotlight. They aren’t A-list celebrities and they aren’t making heaps of money. The people blowing the winds of change are those few of us have heard of.
Define What Changing the World Means to You
You don’t have to change the lives of billions of people to change the world and you don’t have to be in the headlines to be making a difference. Whether it be offering advice, providing a service, or helping someone in a way they can’t help themselves, you touch lives.
You empower others to be better versions of themselves. Even impacting the lives of one person, a small group of people or other living things can make a huge difference in the world.
When you think about world change, think about how you can touch peoples’ lives in unconventional, sometimes simple, profound ways. Even if you touch just one person, it can bring incredible value to their life and cause a ripple elsewhere.
Work With or For the People Who are Changing the World
While many people may aspire to change the world as a world leader, business mogul, or star athlete, most will never achieve that level of influence. Yet, all people of influence are in need of doctors, accountants, clergy, nannies, and other skilled professionals. These influencers have an entire roster of people who enable them perform more effectively in their work.
To make an impact, you don’t have to do it all by yourself. You can collaborate with others and change the world together. Consider putting a more traditional career or skills to use with people who are driving change and want you by their side.
Work for an Organization Driving the Change You Believe In
Some people who desire to change the world think about doing so through the work of a not-for-profit. Nothing says ‘purpose-driven’ more than an organization that directs action and money towards a given mission.
Unfortunately, anyone who has worked in a not-for-profit knows that budgets are almost always strained and an organization’s ability to fulfill its mission is often in question. To make matters worse, the monetary compensation of hardworking employees is notoriously low.
What’s the alternative?
More than ever, for-profit companies are attracting great talent because of their altruistic aspirations. These companies are growing profitable businesses while simultaneously giving back to the community. Let’s look at three examples:
The outdoor apparel company may be the only business in the world that instructs its customers NOT to buy its products. Patagonia calls this effort the Common Threads Initiative and it isn’t some crazy joke. At the expense of boosting revenues and profits, the company is living true to its mission:
Build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm, use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis.
Instead of buying new clothes consumers don’t need and wasting the ones consumers already have, the company has built a program to facilitate the reduction of unnecessary products, repair of broken products, reuse of obsolete products, and recycling of worn-out products.
Is Patagonia changing the mentality of consumers who compulsively buy new clothes? Yes. Does this shift of consumer mindset have the potential to change the world? Absolutely.
This manufacturer of shoes, eyewear, bags, and other accessories has made a name for itself as a fast-growing company while being one of the most progressive.
At its inception, Tom’s created the One For One Program – an initiative that promised to donate one pair of shoes to someone in need for each pair purchased by a paying customer.
The Company affirms “what began as a simple idea has evolved into a powerful business model that helps address need and advance health, education and economic opportunity for children and their communities around the world.”
Today, Tom’s funds sight-saving surgery, prescription glasses or medical treatment; purchases support water systems in seven countries; provides training for skilled birth attendants and the vital materials needed to help a woman safely give birth; and helps provide the training of school staff and crisis counselors to help prevent and respond to instances of bullying.
Is Tom’s Shoes changing the world through its community-focused programs? Yes. Does this shift of consumer mindset have the potential to change the world? Absolutely.
The quirky eyeglass maker was founded with a rebellious spirit and a lofty objective: to offer designer eyewear at a revolutionary price. In addition to being a David-Esque company giving the traditional Goliath eyeglass companies a run for their money (literally), Warby Parker has made a name for itself as a socially – conscious business.
Similar to Tom’s Shoes, Warby Parker ensures that for every pair of glasses sold, a pair is distributed to one of the nearly one billion people worldwide who cannot effectively learn or work due to a lack of glasses.
Is Warby Parker changing the world through its community-focused program? Yes. Does motivating consumers to buy because of this program have the potential to change the world? Absolutely.
How Will You Change the World?
Great impact doesn’t happen overnight and rarely does it happen alone. When you pursue a career and aspire to change the world, keep these considerations in mind:
- Define what change and success mean to you. You don’t have to make headlines to measure your impact, but you do need to determine what success means to you. It’s okay if your definition is different than that of your friends, peers, parents, or society. You will not make as great of an impact if you’re fulfilling someone else’s vision. Further, have patience if this definition doesn’t reveal immediately. It may take a while (ie. years). Don’t rush your progress.
- Let other people know about your goals. Seeking to change the world on your own will be a daunting, lonely endeavor. Don’t operate inside a vacuum. Instead, talk to your friends, family, and network and let them know about what you aspire to do. They may be able to connect you with people or introduce you to organizations that can set you on the right path to achieve your goals.
- Work with or for others who are changing the world. The greatest politicians, business people, athletes, celebrities, music artists, movie makers, and world-changers all have supporting casts. None of these influencers would be who they are or where they are without the support of these helpers. Enable them and you will be a lasting partner in changing the world.