Quick, what do you like to do? Great, that can be part of your platform for good.
Say what? What just happened there?
When you give an immediate, semi-unconscious response to what you like to do, it can be an answer to a much more powerful question.
What if you like to barbecue but you feel sort of guilty about it because it takes time, money and keeps you from doing more seemingly productive things? That tension and frustration could be caused by a misplaced view of what productivity means. If you see other people doing more productive and socially beneficial things, you can feel a little guilty when your mind drifts to your personal passion of spending the weekend with a slab of ribs slowly smoked to perfection. Perhaps the issue is not with the activity but rather the why of the activity.
What if you change the why you do what you like to do and use that activity as a platform for good? What if you link two of your passions and experiences and make something powerful for society?
Let’s think about it like this: Say your older brother served in the military and was wounded, and you want to help him and others in his situation. What if you created a very simple framework to bring your passion and your experience together? Why not hold a monthly barbecue in a local park for vets? You could channel your desire to experiment with sauces and meats into a platform to bring together vets who could use a couple hours of friendship, laughs and a belly full of your prized hickory smoked goodness.
You have a gift. You are unique, and when you combine your passions and personal experiences, you can give rise to a powerful platform that has the potential to help people. In doing so, you can find an outlet for your creativity while also contributing to the collective purpose of adding value to society. (For more on adding value to society, see the blog post Building a Platform for Good: Creating Value While Adding Value.)
For example, perhaps you like dogs. There are organizations (listed at the end of this post) that pair rescued shelter dogs with veterans to help with physical, emotional and mental disabilities. You could combine your passion for dogs with your desire to help veterans and volunteer at one such organization. And you could do it with a friend who likes to barbecue!
Or what if your thing is tinkering with motorcycles, brewing beer, exploring the galaxies via telescope late at night? Or perhaps holding babies, writing poems, or walking through nature and taking photos to share? Don’t push that desire off while you work on more proper things; instead go deep with that interest and pair it with people who would love to share in it with you.
You can do it formally with organizations like Big Brothers Big Sisters. Or you can do it organically by inviting a few folks you know over to hang out in your back yard or to meet up at the library and discuss your passions.
Instead of just taking your prized Corvette down to the local car show by yourself, swing by that neighbor down the street who just lost his wife and ask him to join you. Or instead of baking your world famous cherry pie for your kids, put it in a nice white box, pile the kids into the minivan with you and drive over to the nursing home and spend a few hours with the elderly who would love a homemade treat and the companionship even more.
You are a platform for good. Your natural desires are there for a reason. No matter if your passion is ultimate Frisbee, surfing, rock collecting, fishing, sewing, woodworking or jumping out of a perfectly good airplane (<—watch this!), what brings joy to you will put a smile on your face, and that smile on your face will be medicine to someone in need.
Resources for Veterans: