Seriously, how does anyone start?
When I was a kid, I loved doing puzzles with my Nan. She was a huge fan. Referring back to the picture on the box was cheating in her book, so we’d take one good look at it, then empty the puzzle out and put the box out of sight. We were left with a huge pile of pieces of different colours, some upside down, some magically stuck together to give you a little head start, but just a mess. I remember thinking, “where do we start with this?!”
She always told me, “you already know what the picture will be, so start with the corners and edges.”
This advice is so transferable. When you see a social need that you have a heart for, but looking at the extent of the mess is overwhelming, the best piece of advice to you would be...
"Think about the overall picture and then start with the corners and edges."
Imagine for a moment, if the problem was solved, what would that look like? What are you aiming for at the highest level? If that’s a step too far, break it down a little and think about one area. You might not have the clearest picture, but knowing what you’re aiming for is a great place to start.
You need to start somewhere. It’s all well and good having the dream, but talking about it is different than doing something about it. Decide to start before you talk yourself out of it and before you tell yourself that you’ll not get very far or you let doubts creep in and choke you. Look for the corners of the issues. What is it that frames this problem? What are some of the important things? Make a small start. Search for some of the things that you can pick out easily, things that you CAN do, and do it. You might just feel like it’s only making a tiny bit of difference, but start it off and know that it’s ok. Be patient with yourself. Starting small is awesome!
Keep your eyes out for other people with similar interests and people doing similar but different things. Search out people who are tackling the problem from different angles and start to build connection points. It’s great to make it from feeling like you’re got just a single piece in the puzzle to finding those ones that are already connected or that fit together. Collaboration is key to making a big difference and building or linking into a community that’s got the same heart is going to help you to go the distance.
I really enjoyed doing puzzles together with my Nan. Her enthusiasm drew me in. I may never have thought about doing one on my own or realised how precious having these special memories would become to me now that she's passed away, all because she persuaded and included me.
How you talk and inspire others matters. You never know who is hiding a desire to make a difference in the ways you are hoping for, so don’t write anyone off before you even mention it. Spread your message wide and see who is attracted to what you’re doing. You might just be surprised!