I’ve always felt that I needed to make a difference in the world. Maybe it’s the era I was born in, or the people I grew up with. Maybe it’s the messages that I got from Sunday school and church. Or maybe it was a Soul whisper that I was hearing.
I don’t know.
When I was 10 years old with my best friend Valerie, we decided to go Christmas caroling. Truthfully, we loved singing, so we wanted to sing. I remember the excitement of that project and deciding where we would donate the money. We decided on the Montreal Children’s Hospital.
We caroled around our neighbourhood and raised over $200 and then donated that to the hospital. They sent us a really nice note of thanks. I remember being shocked that I could sing Christmas carols, something I loved to do, and people would donate money!
When I was in university, I had the same desire to make a difference. But I didn’t know how. My good friend Ann was the Editor of the McGill newspaper and she hung out with intelligent activists. So I thought – hmmm, maybe that’s where I can make a difference. That was the era of Greenpeace – people protesting seal hunting and overfishing. I tried to be passionate about something like that – but to no avail.
I didn’t know that wasn’t true until years later....when I started getting angry.
When I started getting outraged.
And that happened in the workplace.
I was shocked and outraged about how people didn’t get to do what they were good at. I was shocked and outraged about how people were overlooked for jobs they were passionate about, and only people who lied and politicked got promoted and noticed (specifically in my workplace).
I remember being told one day by a female mentor that I needed to start wearing pantyhose and dressing more conservatively if I wanted to get ahead.
I remember thinking – you dress badly and I don’t want to get ahead.
I think I was a bit of an undercover rebel in the corporate world.
When in a performance review, my boss told me that the work I was doing to develop and encourage my small staff was great but wasn’t what I was paid to do, I got really, really angry.
And that’s how I discovered the difference I wanted to make. I wanted to be someone who played a part in creating a world where people were valued for who they were, not who they were expected to be.
Fast forward 25 years. I’ve been out of the corporate world now for longer than I was in it. I’ve been self-employed for most of my life now.
I’m angry at very similar things I was angry about back then – but with even more clarity.
We, who see the potential in people, and who see when people are telling the truth and when people are lying and we, who have a gentle love for life and people and beauty – we are stifling our voices.
That makes me sad AND angry.
Now, I work with people who want to be authentic, do something they were meant to do, heal and help the world, but they’re scared, they keep hiding, they think they aren’t enough, they don’t know what they’re here to do. They don’t think they can.
You know what you were meant to do.
Follow the thread of your anger.
Ask yourself – what value of mine has been violated?
The answer to that question will lead you to the difference you’re supposed to make.
Or follow the thread of doing more of what you love. Either one will lead you to the difference you were meant to make.