Category Archives: community

How to be a Quiet Activist

How to Be a Quiet Activist

The squeaky wheel gets the grease.

Historically, before any major social and political changes occur, there are rallies, demonstrations, and uprisings.  When people feel ignored, dismissed, or oppressed they reach a boiling point and find dramatic ways to get attention made to their plight or cause.

Consider The Boston Tea Party, Labor demonstrations and organizations, the march from Selma, Pride Parades, the Million Man March, the Native American Pipeline Protest, and the Women’s March.  These are just a few in our U.S. history.

Whether you agree with their platforms or their choice of actions, one cannot disagree that these activists bold moves brought more attention to their movements and brought, at best, momentum for change and, at worst, started a conversation.

What if you believe in a cause but you aren’t very good at being squeaky?

Maybe you are introvert or shy away from loud crowds of people?  What if your responsibilities keep you from participating? Perhaps your temperament would not be a good addition to the cause. What can you do?

You Can Still Let Your Voice Be Heard

There are things you can do to support the front lines and they need you!

Movements always need supporters or the leaders just appear to be crazy ranters. And things don’t truly change until people adopt different attitudes and habits.

You can be heard by:

  • Signing petitions
  • Writing your lawmakers/people in power (a good starting point is www.senate.gov or  www.house.gov    
  • Sharing thoughtfully worded opinions by you or someone else on social media about your cause (Before sharing anything on social media, make sure it is factually correct, and that you are educated enough on the subject to have a thoughtful debate, and that you can do it without spewing vitriol or hate)
  • Having an intelligent conversation or debate amongst those in your circle of influence. (Please note the word conversation, which is not the same as sermon and the same rules for social media apply here)
  • Vote

During this process, always be willing to listen to the other side before replying.  This way you can learn from them and address any concerns they might have about your thought process.  Or perhaps, in the midst of the back and forth, you may find a middle ground or a better approach to a problem (two heads are better than one).

Civilized conversation is also more persuasive than soapbox rants and name calling.  While that would seem to be common sense, it would appear in this day and age it is not as common as it used to be. Treating or speaking to people in a dignified manner is the greater influencer.

You Can Be Behind the Scenes

There is an enormous amount of work that goes into social and political change. You can always work behind the scenes to do the non glamorous jobs.

There is never a shortage of grunt work or the need for specialized services. You may be a painfully shy agoraphobic accountant but that is ok, they still need someone to keep the books even if you are never seen in public.

If all you have is a couple of odd hours here and there, I am sure you can find some way to be useful.  Just ask.

Financial Support

Money still talks.  Money is still necessary to help accelerate a cause.

You can choose where you spend your money and what or who it supports.  You can monetarily support the squeakers and the noisemakers.  You can monetarily support programs already in place to help what you believe in.

You Can Be An Example

What do you believe in?  Do your actions show it?

Good examples don’t need an introduction.  They are walking the walk.  They affect change without raising their voices or carrying banners.

They are the ones living their beliefs without the parades, the signs, or the bullhorns.

Pick a cause, any cause, and you can find many more people doing the groundwork than people bringing attention to it. The more people who are doing the important work instead of just talking about it, the faster and more likely you are to get sustainable results.

Being an example is also a great way to support many causes at once.  You can support political affiliations, civil rights, and the environment all at the same time just by choosing the way you live your life.

More Suggestions?

As one who quietly supports my causes, I use all of the above strategies.  Is there anything I left out?  Do you have any other methods or approaches to being a quiet activist?

Your Turn:  I seriously want to know…what do you do to be a quiet activist?

How to build a tribe in real life

How to Build a Tribe IRL

 

In the blogosphere and business world, you will see countless mentions of “building your tribe”.  It is great advice- everyone needs a support system- but often it seems it is applied to an online network or following.  There is nothing wrong with that but we don’t live a virtual or compartmentalized life. We live in a tangible world and everything we do is just part of the whole of who we are. Continue reading

One act that can revolutionize gossip

One Act That Can Revolutionize Gossip

 

You can find gossip anywhere.

The office, church, friends, even your own family…no one is immune.

We often associate gossip as negative. If we are going to be politically correct, we would say that gossip is frowned upon.  However, even social scientists are finding that it has some benefits to society.  A Stanford study  determined that gossip can actually deter selfishness and encourage cooperation. Who knew?

While these benefits are interesting news no one wants to be the topic of such gossip. Gossip has bad connotations.  Gossip gone too far can turn into bullying and become a detriment to any environment. Gossip has a huge ICK factor.

However, there is a way to turn gossip upside down.

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How to Make a Difference Without Being Extraordinary

Bloom Where You Are Planted

 

[I’ve discussed this topic before but it keeps popping up everywhere in conversation so I am addressing it again and expanding some different aspects of i.t]

People are looking for purpose in their lives.  I hear many of them say that they wish to make a difference in the world.  Many times they say it as if they can’t.  Or that whatever they do has to be of epic proportions.  Or as if it is something they aren’t ready for just quite yet.

Chances are if everyone took a look at who made a difference in their life, or looked at the people around them, those that have done the most good are not the people who are labeled heroes.  They aren’t famous.  They aren’t considered the movers and the shakers.  They’re just an average Jane or Joe living their life and treating others as if they matter. Continue reading

50 ways to be generous without spending money

Fifty Ways to be Generous Without Spending Money

 

Being generous is the natural side effect of living a happy and fulfilled life.  It is also the antidote for when we feel lost or blue.  It can take our focus off ourselves and make us pay attention to the world around us. It serves both us and the receivers of our generosity. It is empowering.

Many times people equate giving with cash. If you have the means, then go ahead and share but what if you don’t?  While monetary philanthropy is important, it is a narrow way to be generous.  There are many other ways to share with others.

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What Not to Say to Graduating Seniors

What NOT to Say to Graduating Seniors

It’s that time!

High school seniors all over the country are relieved.  And rejoicing.  And celebrating. We will join in the merriment.  Then there will be those among us who will, without malice or awareness, put a damper on it. Simply with the words that come out of their mouths.

Everyone should think carefully before they speak.

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How NOT to Turn into a Curmudgeon (or how to be a cool old person)

Have you ever noticed that there are two types of old people?

There are cranky, bitter, sour old people. The Curmudgeons. These are the ones most people dread being around.

Then there is the interesting fun to be with old people that people look at and say “That’s how I want to be when I grow up”.  They are the cool old people. Continue reading

Give Millenials a break!

It’s Time to Give Millennials a Break (and some credit, too)

 

It’s time to give Millennials a break.

You can’t go a day without reading or hearing what “the problem with millennials” is.  We need to stop that.  Isn’t that just a version of “kids these days”? The same centuries old tired lament? Doesn’t that mean we are just old farts who have passed the buck and we haven’t figured out how to build a bridge with the next generation? And by ‘we’ I mean the Prequels- the Prequels to the Millennials being mainly Baby Boomers and Generation X (and yes, a word I have twisted for my own purposes). Continue reading

Say Thank You Like You Mean It

Everyone likes to be acknowledged.  Everyone likes to be appreciated.

In the season of giving we have many opportunities to say thank you, not just for gifts but for generous gestures as well.  We need to make sure that we thank people like we really mean it.  We may not be good at it but that is when we need to require a little more from ourselves .  We can learn, we can get better, we can practice.  Practice makes perfect, right?

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The Myth of Balance

We’ve been sold a myth that somehow we can find a balance, a perfect equilibrium, in our lives.  Sometimes we are even shamed for not having found that sweet spot.

Balance implies that we have some scale and on each side are equal parts of a whole.  Or that different portions of our lives are divided up and pitted against each other.  Usually it is not possible, or even valuable, to compartmentalize our lives because all if it is woven together into whole cloth.

Needs ebb and flow.  Life changes regularly.

Work/Life Balance

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