“Be the change you wish to see in the world.” You’re probably familiar with this famous Mahatma Gandhi quote. But, that’s because it speaks volumes. After all, one person does have the power to change the world. And, when you do, you’ll improve your well-being, forge stronger bonds, and improve your community — even if it’s just slightly.
How can you accelerate your positive impact? Well, here are some tried and true techniques that you can begin practicing daily.
Use your internal network.
When you hear the term “networking” you probably think of attending functions like industry events or connecting with others online. While external networking is defiantly worth the time and investment, you also can’t rule out internal networking. After all, it’s an effective way to improve communication, job satisfaction, engagement, and productivity.
Additionally, it encourages knowledge sharing and is the foundation of positive work culture. “Networking also is vital to help employees become their best selves and perform their best work,” writes Gary Beckstrand, Vice President at O.C. Turner.
But, how can internal networking be encouraged without being disruptive to productivity or balance? Beckstrand suggests that companies offer “longer lunch breaks to enable restaurant get-togethers, subsidize mid-afternoon coffee outings, or select an open floor plan and welcome the more abundant chit-chat that ensues.”
Leaders should also get to know their teams better through daily check-ins or scheduling one-on-ones.
Another idea would be to use technology for your advantage. For example, you could use Slack to get a virtual water cooler. And, if you have a remote team, you could have weekly virtual lunches or team-building activities.
Become a trailblazer.
“One of the best ways to make an impact is by breaking ground with new ideas, spearheading new concepts, and originating new proposals,” recommends Lolly Daskal, President and CEO of Lead From Within. “Be a trailblazer–don’t be afraid to make your own tracks.”
“Work to always be the person who can offer a creative solution or a solid Plan B,” adds Lolly. “Be resourceful enough to do a lot with a little.”
If that sounds a little too vague for you, I suggest that you do two things. First, always be yourself and be proud of the person you are. Second, push yourself out of your comfort zone occasionally through learning, traveling, and embracing new experiences.
It may be uncomfortable initially, but this will help you get to know yourself better and become exposed to new ideas and perspectives.
Clean-up your work environment.
A great place to start with this is your personal workspace. As Max Palmer wrote in another Calendar article, “A clean space will give you a sense of order you need to start your day.” What’s, it shows others that you should be taken seriously. And, it’s better for your health — remember, messy workplaces can harbor germs and allergies.
As if that weren’t enough, a clean workspace will keep you motivated, productive, and reduces getting distracted. But, in addition to keeping clean and clutter-free workspace, there are some you should also create a more positive work environment — you can also use these tips in your personal life as well.
- Give plenty of positive reinforcement, like telling others why you appreciate them.
- Show and share your gratitude.
- Celebrate both professional wins and life milestones like birthdays.
- Be respectful of other’s time, such as not arriving late.
- Encourage fun, like playing games, team-building, activities, or volunteering.
- Prioritize the health and well-being of others. For example, have more standing or walking meetings, flexible schedules, and offering counseling services.
- Engage in random acts of kindness, like treating someone to lunch or offering to help others.
Improve your empathy.
Empathy, as described by Deanna Ritchie, is putting yourself in someone else’s shoes. “When you’re able to experience empathy, you’re more likely to build and fortify social connections,” adds Deanna. “It also encourages you to regulate your own emotions” and promote “helping behaviors.”
“Those aren’t just amazing traits as a person; they’re also ones that will make you a better leader,” Deanna says. “Empathy is always important in life,” but also essential for leaders. That’s because it fosters collaboration, creates bonds, increases happiness, and teaches presence.
How can you develop this skill? Well, take the time to get to know people better is obvious. It’s the only way to get to know their skills, interests, and build trust.
Furthermore, you can also:
- Stop rushing to judgments and critiques.
- Listening more and talking less.
- Becoming more aware of other’s needs.
- Ask others how they’re doing.
- Be genuine and even a little vulnerable.
Whether you’re a micromanager or been called a “helicopter parent,” you should grant autonomy to others. Now, that doesn’t mean always being a “free-range” parent or laissez-faire leader. It just means that you guide others, after clarifying your expectations, as opposed to breathing down their necks.
By encouraging ownership, you’re allowing others to speak-up and choose how they want to solve problems. In turn, this builds trust, enhances problem-solving skills, and improves your interpersonal relationships.
Pay it forward.
In my opinion, this is one of the easiest and most effective ways to send back some positive vibes. The reason? It can start out so incredibly small and grow into something much bigger.
Let’s say that you woke-up on the wring side of the bed. As you’re waiting in line for your morning coffee, the customer in front of you buys your drink. That changes your mindset and now you’re going into work greeting your colleagues with a warm smile, which in turn boosts their moods which they’ll reciprocate. Remember, positivity is literally contagious.
On a larger scale, if you’re in a position to help others then please do so. For instance, unless you were handed over a family business, there were people who helped you get where you are today. To return the favor, take someone under your wing and mentor them.
Be a forward thinker.
Forward-thinking, according to Brad Smith, “is preparing to not only avoid pitfalls and failure but to also achieve growth and success through innovation.” Between his time with the nonprofit Consortium for Service Innovation and his career experiences here’s his advice on how to train yourself to become a forward thinker:
- Unify your team around goals tied to one vision.
- Learn from other organizations like brainstorming with your local Chamber of Commerce or industry associations.
- Remember the Rule of Three. “Innovation typically requires three tries to get it right,” explains Smith. “If you try something once and it works perfectly, it probably wasn’t all that innovative.” However, “doing things three times can force you to have a persistent forward-thinking focus.”
- Take risks and experiment.
- “Give up the illusion of control, because it’s deceptive,” says Smith.
- Read as much as possible and make time to just observe others.
- Schedule time to plan ahead. Personally, I prefer to do this weekly. But, your mileage may vary. For example, planing your schedule once a month may suffice.
Get involved with the community.
“When we give back, we create a ripple effect that goes far beyond those we help – especially when we think we have nothing to give,” explains Team Tony. “We are operating out of an abundance mindset, telling ourselves and others that we believe our generosity will come back to us and that we will be taken care of.” That’s because you aren’t “worrying about what’s in it for us, we are instead grateful for the life we have and in a position to help others who are not as fortunate.” Best of all, even small acts of kindness “can create impact and encourage others to be kinder, more forgiving and more willing to extend a helping hand.”
For you personally, giving back gives meaning to your life. And, it makes you feel good about yourself. If you’re a business owner, then it can also spread positive brand awareness about your company.
Even better, there are a variety of ways for you to get involved with the community, such as:
- Donating supplies to a school or nonprofit.
- Supporting homeless shelters or soup kitchens.
- Mentor or tutor others.
- Pick-up trash along highways or in a local park.
- Volunteer your time at organizations that you care about, such as an animal shelter.
- Donate clothing or blood.
- Run errands for those who can’t.
- Host a fundraising event.
- Encourage local growth by using locally made products and services.
- Sponsor a little league, parade, or local event like a block party.