When The News Makes You Ask "What Can I Do?"

On the shores of the Dead Sea, Jordan.

On the shores of the Dead Sea, Jordan.

Tragedies like last weekend’s attacks on Paris stop us in our tracks; they leave us with a palpable sense of sadness and helplessness. They cause us to ask ourselves, “What can I do?”

If this question comes up for you, I want to offer you a possibility: Say with your actions what kind of world you want to live in. Right now, in your daily life.

We are all creating the world we live in.  

My work has been motivated for many years by the question, “What can I do?”

When I started working for an international humanitarian aid organization in 2007, I thought I’d finally found the answer. My organization responded directly to disaster and conflicts, hunger and poverty. Then, after six years, I was still dissatisfied. The impact of my work felt too distant, at times too ambiguous.

As I seriously considered becoming a professional coach, I grappled with self-doubt. After the harsh realities I’d witnessed in Haiti after the 2010 earthquake and in the lives of Syrian refugees in Jordan and Lebanon, I was going to dedicate myself to “self-help”?

Yet, through coaching I myself had undergone the type of impact I craved for my work: tangible, personal, and transformative. 

I struggled to reconcile these experiences. Then, I came across this idea from author Marianne Williamson.

And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.
— Marianne Williamson

This idea is now foundational to my coaching practice. I support others in finding the way to let their light shine.

Because I believe that when we are our best selves, we encourage others to be their best selves. I am inspired by a vision of the world that can be created from this powerful ripple effect.

So if you’re asking yourself in the wake of tragedy, What can I do? Try this:

Find one way to better express your best self in your daily life. Do it to begin creating the kind of world you want to live in.

Your best self might be more loving. You decide to tell your spouse one thing every day that you appreciate about him or her.

Your best self might be more honest. You decide to talk openly with a co-worker to clear up a misunderstanding.

You best self might be more spiritual. You decide to make time each morning to meditate or pray.

There are so many possibilities.

When we live our ideals, it is a powerful example to others. We say through our actions the kind of world we want to live in.

I believe in the ripple effect.

What is one thing that you could do today as an expression of your best self? What does it say about the world that you want to live in? Leave me a comment below. I’d love to hear your ideas.