January 24, 2017

Do something. But you can't do everything.


Right now I can't even speak to the hourly, villainous acts that are happening these days. It feels like a full body blow every few minutes. One thing is that I see a lot of people trying to do everything—go to every protest, go to every meeting, respond to every call to action, post and comment on Instagram and Twitter about every development, etc. Listen to me. You can't do it all. You can't. You will burn out and you will not be effective in the long run. Think about whether you are performing, or actually doing work that will make a difference.

Here is how I would suggest you take a step back and think about how you are going to be a change maker now and in the years to come.  

Think about all of the things swirling around you, all the opportunities you have to do things and act on your values and choose these three things: 
One thing to be a leader on
‚ÄčOne thing to be a follower on
One thing to make a habit of

Organizing your energy in this way is really helpful. It helps you make decisions and conserve energy as things come up. It doesn't mean you can't or won't do other things, but these are your three things.

Here is a little more detail.

One thing to be a leader on. This is something where you take charge of or are part of the leadership group for. Maybe it's a movement to make your city a sanctuary city, or to sustain an abortion fund in an anti-choice state, or to support a local shelter, or to get someone you believe in elected to attorney general or some other office. Maybe you want to lead your local chapter of Emily's List or something. This is something where you are going to be helping direct others and plot the course. It will be your priority.

One thing to be a follower on. This is a group or a cause that you join, and participate in actively, but let others take the lead on. This may be a preexisting group, like a BLM group, or a group working to support DAPL, or something a friend is doing. It could be joining an Indivisible group that you like and going along with what they plan. This takes a little less topline energy from you, but you are still working to make something happen. You participate, you contribute ideas, you do outreach, but you have less responsibility that you would if you were a leader. You help with the fundraiser but you aren't in charge of it. 

One thing to make a habit of. This is something you just do, every week or every day or every month, whether it's being a clinic escort twice a month, or donating to a certain cause every month, or working at a soup kitchen every week, doing cop watch twice a week, or making the daily phone call scripts that we all get. Maybe, to start with, it's the Women's March 10 Actions/100 Days Initiative. It's something you are committed to, and you do, but you are bearing the fruits of someone else making an opportunity for you to participate with some ease. 

I'm finding this a really good framework to organize my thoughts and energy and I think it might be helpful for you all as well. Please share it with others if it helps you. 


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Remember you don't have to do everything—but anything you do can change the world
And please do write me about your actions—love hearing about them!