When starting a new business, too many Business Owners waste time and energy trying to be everything to everyone.
But I’ll let you in on a secret. Most top performers know that to be effective, you need focus. Rather than trying to hit all the targets at once, they strip off what they don’t need and home in on their top two or three performers.
Outside their business, most people want to create a lasting legacy, to leave the world a little better than they found it when the time comes to move on.
In the same way that your business can’t be everything to everyone, you can’t help all the organizations that need your time and attention. So, what do you?
The question got me thinking. We teach our Business Owners in Cash Flow Cure to be intentional when deciding what products and services to offer. By paring down what they do and create, they’re actually more effective than someone trying to do it all. In effect, they achieve more by doing less.
So what if we applied the same concept to making a lasting impact on the world around us?
What if we take the concepts of Crystallize, Customize and Monetize and apply them to your personal life? How can doing less help you make more of an impact on the world?
Crystalize Your Focus
The truth is, there is a great need in the world for people just like you who want to make a difference. Whether you’re saving the spotted owl or cleaning up your local park, the possibilities are endless.
The temptation is to sit on every board, join every committee, sign up for every fun run and fundraise from sunup to sundown. While a fun run will keep you in shape (not to mention the free t-shirt), madly running from one charitable obligation to the next leaves you exhausted and burnt out.
So, take a step back. Get crystal clear on what is most important to you, what causes align closest with your values and beliefs and then go help them. Crystalize your focus by choosing one or two organizations that support what you truly value in your life. Focus your free time to volunteer there as much as you like.
Which do you think is more helpful to an organization? A volunteer who commits a set number of hours each month with a smile on their face? Or the volunteer who races in to give an hour of their time, then exhaustedly runs off to the next obligation?
Customize Your Approach
Now that you’re focused on what organizations and causes matter most to you, get a little creative. Think for a moment about your particular set of skills and abilities. How can you combine the things you love to do with organizations that need your help? What can you offer to the causes you support to help them advance their impact in the community?
I’m not talking about just showing up at community events, although that’s important. But I would challenge you to think outside the box. Do you have computer skills that would help a community organization update their operating system? Are you an accountant who can volunteer your time to help low-income families file their taxes? Maybe you love to plan events and parties. There’s probably a long list of charities who would love your help with event planning.
Now that you’re down to one or two causes to serve with your specific set of skills, figure out exactly how you can help. But remember, don’t volunteer your services if you can’t follow through. If an organization is depending on you, you need to honor that commitment.
Monetize Your Efforts
We’ve talked a lot about giving your time and energy to make a lasting impact, but let’s talk about another valuable resource: money.
You’ve heard us talk about your Charity Bucket and how you need to dedicate funds to enrich your community just as the 4% do. Now that you’ve Crystalized your focus and Customized your approach to help specific organizations, you have a better understanding of their financial needs.
Take the time to set up automatic donations to these organizations so you provide regular financial support. Just like with your own Cash Flow, giving has a greater impact when you make consistent donations rather than throwing dollars around whenever. This is also a good time to review your estate planning. If you want to set up ongoing support even after you’re gone, now is the time.
One more thing. If you’re not self-employed, check to see if your employer will match your giving. More and more employers are offering a company match to donations made by employees to qualified charities. Even more exciting, some companies actually give paid time off to employees to volunteer in the community.
It’s Time To Get Focused
Cutting back allows you to devote more hours to what really matters to you—without being overwhelmed. Remember, time is a finite resource, so use it as effectively as possible.
When you Crystalize your focus on causes that matter, you’re better able to Customize helping. You free up your time and energy to devote your specific talents to organizations that matter most to you. Then you can boost that volunteer work by supporting them financially, so they can continue to work for change for generations to come.
Spend just 10 minutes today and write down what charities you would most like to help. Then spend some time creating a game plan for how you can impact more, in less time than you think.
The views and opinions expressed are those of the guest author and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of MindShift.money.
Wendy Priester is a former Tax Auditor turned freelance writer and certified Financially Fit Bootcamp Coach. When not working with clients to help them live their best financial life, Wendy can be found exploring the Rocky Mountains of Colorado with her two hyperactive dachshunds.