International Women’s Day: Are You Making a Difference?

It’s International Women’s Day, an opportunity to celebrate the accomplishments women have made and advocate gender equality.

I’d like to take a twist on this and ask you, ladies (and gents), “Do you feel like there is something more you should be doing with your life?”

Before you answer, please let me explain what I mean…

Before starting at FatWallet, I was a home business owner working almost exclusively with women since 2005 and I was a Girl Scout leader from 2002-2011. I’m amazed and humbled by the greatness I’ve seen in the women around me in all areas of my life; my daughters, grandmothers, mom, mother-in-law, sister, friends and coworkers. The insight, talent, compassion, and strength inside each of them, if harnessed, would be a power beyond measure. But more often than not, they we don’t see it, can’t see it, or refuse to see it.

We go through our lives looking for meaning, wanting to make a difference, and feeling like there is something more we could or should be doing with our lives. We have dreams we don’t act on and callings we ignore.

Here we are living in a peaceful country, with an abundance of resources at our fingertips, and the power to communicate our message across the globe with the click of a mouse. And yet we remain quiet, hiding behind our busy lives, avoiding the risks involved with facing our fears of inadequacy.

It’s heartbreaking to me that only a small number of people take the risk to push past their fears to leave a legacy compared to the number of people with a dream.

There are times in our lives when the excitement or the pain gets strong enough that we make the plans and take some action toward achieving our goals, but for many or most of us, insecurities and self doubt end up holding us back. We get so far and then we hit the panic point where we instinctively pull back instead of pushing past our fears.

How are you making a difference in your family, your community, and your profession? If you feel like you were meant for something more, but you’re not sure what that looks like for you, here are some questions to help you turn your dream into a mission and then into a movement.

1. What are your strengths?

    We all have different skills, strengths, and gifts, but we take them for granted and assume that if something comes easily to us, then it does to everyone else as well. I am a terrible cook, but I love to write. My husband is the exact opposite of me. When we’re working in our strengths we’re happy, unstressed and able to step into our greatness.

    Action Step: Make a list of your traits and strengths. If you’re struggling with that, make a list of things you lose track of time doing, and the thing that make you feel alive inside. What gifts and skills do you possess that could help others?

2. What is your mission?

    I struggled to choose a major in college. As a matter of fact, I had five of them. I was so afraid that I’d make the wrong choice that I avoided making one until I was forced to. Deciding what we stand for in life and making it our mission can be just as difficult.

    Action Step: A coach once helped me get clear on my mission by asking me to answer one or both of the following questions, “What breaks your heart? and What pisses you off?” You won’t be able to follow through on something you don’t feel passionate about.

3. What obstacles will you face?

    I am great at new ideas and getting things going, but in many areas of my life I fall short when I hit a point of fear of following through on my actions. For me it feels like insecurity, lack of faith, worrying what others will think, or being distracted by a shiny new opportunity. Personal development gurus call it the Terror Barrier. That point when you have to make a decision to work through the fear.

    Action Step: Think about the past experiences you have and figure out what stopped you from following through. Being aware of when, throughout the process of growth you typically pull back, and what feelings instigated your retreat, will help you to be able to push past it in the future.

4. Who can help you?

    You’ve got skills and talent that can help others…who has the talent and skills that can help you achieve your goals? FatWallet couldn’t exist without the teamwork approach to bringing you deals, coupons, and supporting this community. Everyone has their specialty. Who has the speciality you need? Who knows the people you need to network with?

    Action Step: Make a list of your “social equity.” Who do you know who can help you acquire the resources, networking opportunities, or skills necessary to help you turn your mission into a movement? In addition to your “social equity” it is very helpful to find a life coach, colleague or someone who will hold you accountable and point out where you’re not playing full out can be helpful to push past the terror barrier. :)

5. What is your reward?

    The desire to make a difference has been hard-wired into all of us, but in order to pull through the fear, we need to get clear on the reasons why we are doing it. Maybe it’s the feeling of accomplishment, to be able to earn more so you can give more, or the reward of enjoying what you do? Success is never about the money, it’s about what the money can do.

    Action Step: Figure out why do you want to make a difference. What is your reward for success? Make a list of all the benefits to succeeding in your mission. Add to the list as you achieve some of these benefits and think of new ones.

So back to my question, “Do you feel like there is something more you should be doing with your life?” Is there a dream inside of you that’s dying or a calling you’ve been ignoring? Maybe today is the day to change that.

Share your mission in the comments below or on our Facebook page. Maybe we can help turn your mission into a movement!

Happy International Women’s Day!

:) Heather

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