Step 222: 5 Ways to Give the World the Gifts You Have

“No one could make a greater mistake than he who did nothing because he could do only a little.” ~ Edmund Burke

I saw my friend, Derek, on Sunday. I hadn’t seen him in many years and we got to talking about his work and the goals he’s been able to accomplish, much to his surprise but not to mine. He’s found a way to meld personal interests with his career in a way that has been good for him and for his community. He’s an example of someone doing well by doing good and staying true to who he is.

He told me about an interview he saw with Don Cheadle. Mr. Cheadle talked about how much the world needs whatever gifts we have to give. Someone, somewhere needs what we do. We don’t need more training or experience or money to improve the community. We don’t need to have more influence or power or exposure to get something done. Start small, dream big, and just keep going. Here are 5 ideas to get you started:

1.) Teach a free class in your field of expertise at a community center or public library. In New York City, try the New York Public Library.

2.) Give time to a cause that matters to you – and any amount of time helps. Most nonprofits have a “volunteer” link on their homepages that provide details about how to give your time.

3.) Offer to do some pro-bono work by using the same skills you utilize in your everyday life. In New York City, there is a great program to help you use your “blank”, whatever that is, to help others.

4.) Mentoring is a great way to pass along knowledge. Programs like iMentor and Big Brothers Big Sisters are always in need of more mentors.

5.) Person-to-person microlending and giving aggregators in the U.S. are giving a much-needed boost to small businesses, artists, and innovators. Kickstarter and LendingClub are two great places to learn about this growing trend and play a part, either as a lender or a borrower.

I’d love to hear stories about how you used the gifts you have to create a better world!