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Although blogging has become a much-needed creative outlet for me over the past few years, I blog for a bigger reason– to hopefully inspire confidence in young women and men across the country. Although my personal mission statement is the product of years of silent suffering and insecurity, you don’t need a life-altering catastrophe to serve as your catalyst to make the world a better place. As a generation of digital influencers, we have a unique ability to regularly touch an engaged audience with positive messaging and encouragement through different mediums, including but not limited to blog posts, social media channels, email, etc. Whether you casually endorse a cause or decide to intimately share a personal exposition for your advocacy with your readers, I encourage you to give back to your community through the gift of your influence. Here are five quick things (we’re talking under a minute or less) you can do right now to help shine a little more light into the world:
1. INSPIRE OTHERS
Post an inspirational quote on any one of your social media channels. You never know who may need a gesture of encouragement at this very moment. Feel free to use one of the three quotes shown in this post or check out my Words of Wisdom Pinterest board for inspiration. As an example of the power of random positivity, Hyde Park Village is under a ton of construction right now, so instead of just boarding up businesses in transition, they’ve constructed pretty placeholders with inspirational quotes to mask the stages of development. Not only does it make the community more aesthetically pleasing, it makes me stop, smile, and snap a photo every time I walk by a new message. Case in point, all of the quotes included in this post were inspired by some of the artwork in Hyde Park Village.
So why is it that motivational quotes inspire us? Turns out there’s a long-researched science behind it. In an article written by Fast Company, psychologist and motivation expert Jonathan Fader, PhD, founder of the Union Square Practice in New York City, explained, “For people open to their message, well-structured messages that use strong imagery and appeal to our aspirational nature can be meaningful and powerful in changing our thinking and helping us see something in ourselves that we want to change or overcome. That’s one of the main reasons they’re passed on for generations.”
2. BAND TOGETHER
Join the Jewelers Mutual Band Together campaign. Jewelers Mutual Insurance Company is set to donate a total of $2 million to support three important causes – health, home and hunger through their corporate giving campaign called Band Together. The benefiting non-profits are St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Habitat for Humanity, and Feeding America or Food Banks Canada. Help Jewelers Mutual decide how to disperse this record-breaking donation by voting here for your choice of causes by July 31st. If you’d like to help promote on social media, feel free to retweet this message to help get the word out:
— Stephanie Ziajka (@StephanieZiajka) July 22, 2016
The cause that receives the most votes will receive a $1 million donation from Jewelers Mutual, the runner-up will receive $700,000, and $300,000 will go to the third-place winner. Also, all voters will be entered for a chance to win weekly jewelry prizes from STACKED New York. Each week, one winner will receive a set of 3 stacking bands ($450 retail value). Vote daily to increase your chances of winning!
3. PLEDGE YOUR SUPPORT
If you have a favorite charity, follow them on every social media channel they actively utilize, including Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube, Google Plus, etc. Non-profits are only effective with community support, and community support starts with you. If a particular cause is important to you, do a Google search for new organizations to endorse.
4. MODEL KINDNESS
This is going to sound cheesy and incredibly cliché, but be extra kind to the strangers around you. Smile at the next person who walks by you– and if you’re feeling particularly kind, tell them to have a nice day. I think William Arthur Ward said it best when he said, “A warm smile is the universal language of kindness.” Plus, according to Pick the Brain, psychologists have found that forcing yourself to smile can boost your mood. That’s right– even if you’re in a bad mood, you can instantly lift your spirits (and boost your immune system, relieve stress, and look more attractive) by forcing yourself to smile.
5. RESEARCH COMMUNITY NEEDS
Lastly, even if you’re “just looking,” check out the abundant volunteering opportunities near you! Know the needs of your community and use your influence to promote them. Utilize free websites like VolunteerMatch and Create The Good to locate organizations near you who advocate for your favorite cause(s) and are searching for help. Even if you’re restricted by an air tight schedule, you can still help out by purging your closet or even browsing the internet with a different search engine. If you don’t have any money or items-in-kind to give, that doesn’t make you any less of a devoted community leader; simply find ways to donate your time or energy instead. Here is a post about 26 creative ways to make a difference this year.
How will you make a difference in your community today?
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.