Things You Do and Don’t Need to do to Start Improving Lives in Your Community

Growing up in Manitoba during the ’80s, Terry Fox was — and still is — my hero.

“The answer is to try and help others.”

During my 10+ year career as a social entrepreneur, I keep coming back to this quote.

From founding a nonprofit to get more kids on bikes and a social enterprise building support for youth mental health and abundant housing here in Traverse City, Northern Michigan’s capital, I’ve learned a few things about trying to help others.

Things you don’t need to do to start improving lives in your community:

  • ask permission
  • seek board approval
  • send another survey
  • try to make everyone happy
  • worry about what others will think
  • have things like process and strategy figured out

Things you do need to do:

  • genuinely give a shit
  • pay attention
  • notice things
  • listen to your neighbors
  • celebrate successes together
  • give ownership to those who need change the most

Just Start

I love watching social entrepreneurs start.

Sure, they could read, study, analyze and talk about things some more but instead, they act.

They learn as they go while surrounding themselves with other action-oriented people who align with their values and priorities.

  • take a stand and clearly communicate what you want to happen and why
  • disrupt the status quo and help shift power from the bottom
  • take risks and have the audacity to imagine a better tomorrow
  • start

Make a Promise. Keep a Promise.

Put yourself on the hook by making a promise out loud.

And then keep that promise by being consistent and focused — every day.

Greenlight — it’s time to go.

We’re counting on you.

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