Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Being a Leader in Your Community

George Bernard Shaw said, “Progress is impossible without change.” And change is impossible without a spark to start the fire. Here are six ways to initiate effective change and become a leader in your community.

1. Find a cause that you believe in.
This cause should be something that you are passionate about supporting, or even part of already. It should be something that you are willing to dedicate a lot of time and effort to and truly believe in the work you are doing. A lack of passion will only detriment your activism process.

2. Set an objective.
One way to do this is to examine your intentions within this cause. Are you advocating for it? Repairing it? Revising it? It’s important to explore why you are becoming involved with this cause.
Within this objective, set long and short term goals.

3. Form a team.
Surround yourself and collaborate with people who also believe in your cause.
Examine everyone’s strengths and interests - some people may be interested in canvassing while others may want to be more involved in designing logos and slogans. Every person has something unique and important to contribute.

4. Listen to people.
Listen to those who have more experience with your cause and people who may be impacted differently by your cause or your objectives. Include these people in your cause. The initial team your formed may need training. You may need assistance creating program and policy proposals. You may need someone who knows how state and federal bills are proposed and passed. These people also may know the core issues or intersectional issues of a community that you are trying to represent.
Also listen to people who oppose your cause. You can learn how to strengthen and revise your cause by talking to as many sides of the story as possible. Be eager to learn and to adapt your movement.

5. Learn how to effectively disseminate information.
If people don’t know what your cause is about, they can’t support or become involved in it.  Hold informational meetings, give out pamphlets, canvass door-to-door, start a digital campaign and maintain an online presence through social media, hang fliers up at schools, campuses, and community centers.

6. Teach others how to be leaders and carry on your vision.
Don’t lead from above. Just because you formed the group does not mean you can rule over them with an iron fist. Work with your group; get down in the trenches with them. Teach them how they can spread the message to their respective communities.

Friday, November 4, 2016

Choosing a Career Path

Choosing a career is not just choosing any other job. It is choosing what kind of life you want to live. Picking a career path is a momentous decision and should be approached with thoughtful consideration.

It all starts with examining your skills. Is there a certain talent you have or something you love to do? It’s important to look at your abilities and see what you can develop and utilize. Try to be creative and flexible with your talents as well. See where seemingly frivolous interests can lead you in the job market.

Consider your past experiences. Did you hate your job as a camp counselor? Did you love your job as a shift manager? Use your previous experiences to gauge what kind of field you’d enjoy being in and which ones you’d be miserable in.

You should also look at your work style and where and how you work best. Do you work better in an office? Do you like hands-on, physical tasks or do you excel with computers and information systems? It’s important to see where you’re most comfortable working. This is hopefully where you’ll be working for the majority of your life.

In addition to your comfort, you should also assess your social needs. If you like interacting with people, sales might be a field you want to explore. If you’re more independent, you may want to look into jobs in which you are able to work from home or jobs that have limited social interaction.

Maintain an organized list of all these elements. You can document your interests, disinterests, and personal strengths. You can note things you want to learn more about or things that sound interesting to you. This will help shape your career path aims. Choosing a career should not be an overnight decision, but something you steadily explore.

Set short term goals that will help pave the way to a long term goal. Pushing yourself to achieve a series of smaller tasks rather than one, large task will help you break up the process and actually accomplish what you want to.

It is also essential for you to intern or volunteer in the field you want to enter. You may think you like this career option, but until you experience it in its purest form, you will never truly know. You may love teaching children, but hate the classroom environment. This can lead you to consider other career options or deviations from your initial choice.

A career path is something you want to seriously consider. Reviewing all your options and exploring your talents and interests are crucial in this process.