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  • Writer's pictureMelissa Galland

SMART Goals... to Change the World?

In various ways, many Americans are longing to make a difference in this world. We want to be better. Reflecting on the past twelve months, the need for better is undeniable. Taking steps to do good and make this world a better place, there is also a self-serving benefit. Studies show that giving back can help people find a sense of belonging and fill their lives with purpose. Additionally, people often report a decrease in depression, blood pressure, and chronic stress when helping others. These are things we could all benefit from.

“Be the change you wish to see in the world.” We all know that quote from Mahatma Gandhi. The question is, what does it mean to be the change you want to see?

Adair Volunteer Day
A company sponsored day devoted to help an Adair Homes customer who was struggling.

The message of making a difference by voting has been heard loud and clear. Every American should vote. In 2020, we did a pretty good job at that, with more than two-thirds of registered voters heading to the polls—the largest percentage of registered voter participation in 120 years. The election is over; now what? The change we need in this world is so much bigger than politics alone. So much so it can feel daunting for the entry-level difference-maker. Don't let the size of the problem overwhelm you; start with a SMART goal. When faced with a big project in the business world, we often turn to SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and timely) goals. A SMART goal can provide a sense of direction, motivation and help define your path to success. The first step towards building a SMART goal is to be specific. This means we need to identify an area of focus if you aren't sure where to start as yourself the five questions below to drill down and determine your goal's specifics.

How to Choose the Right Charity

Top 5 Questions

1. What are you passionate about?

2. Has there been a person or a group that has helped you?

3. What issues do you find yourself thinking about the most?

4. What gets you fired up and emotional?

5. What talent of yours are you willing to share?

With the specifics decided, it's time to determine how it will be measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely. It's great to have bold and audacious goals, but don't start with solving world hunger. Remember, we don't want the problem's size to overwhelm us and prevent us from taking action. If world hunger is something you are passionate about, maybe it starts with one hungry person, and you go from there. That could be as simple as purchasing a few extra groceries and dropping them by your local food bank once a month or spending time in a local shelter and preparing food for someone else. After going through that exercise, you might be pumped to make an impact. You might also be questioning how much difference one person can make and considering a Netflix binge instead. For that reason, I am going to share this personal story:

With the pandemic, protests, political unrest, job uncertainties, and fighting family members, I started to feel a real lack of control. I knew I could either get sucked into that emotion or do something, so I decided to spend my birthday with friends volunteering for a group called Project Lemonade. I was a little embarrassed to reach out because I had been an active volunteer for them, but then life got in the way I hadn't been there in about five years. Typically, it had been challenging to get a shift in their store in August, but they were in serious need of volunteers because of social distancing.

Heading to Lloyd Center for my first shift in 2020, I was thinking of how I started working with this organization. I had originally found Project Lemonade when I was the Marketing Manager for Lennar Homes in Portland; as a new division, I was looking for an organization to align with that might have a good social benefit for our marketing efforts. I have a love of shopping and kids, so Project Lemonade seemed like a good fit. The Portland Division of Lennar hosted two denim drives while I was part of the team.

When I arrived at the Project Lemonade store, I was greeted by a very bubbly volunteer who happened to remember me from all those years ago. She was eager to share that Lennar had continued with many fundraisers and drives over the years after I left, and they had recently become a large corporate sponsor. This donation technically had nothing to do with me, and I am not suggesting that I deserve any credit. However, the amazing gift I got out of this was the insight into how small actions from one person can turn into big things without us ever knowing about it. I randomly selected this group many years ago, and my reasons weren't completely altruistic, but look at where we are now!

You have your goal, and maybe you have some inspiration on how even a small thing could make a big impact. Now it's time to add some accountability and share with others. Tell one person or tell the world by commenting on this post or sharing on your own personal social media pages.

I'll start the sharing process! I am passionate about children, treating all humans with love and kindness, and the fundamental need for housing for all. After completing my due diligence, I have remained active with Project Lemonade, joined the board for the Home Builders Foundation and PWB, and became a founding member of the (new and coming soon) DEI committee with the Salvation Army in the Portland Metro area. My commitment: to contribute weekly to one of these organizations AND to teach my child the importance of giving back.

PS: Speaking of changing the world, have you heard this amazing cover of Eric Clapton's iconic song by Rita Ora? Beautiful!

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