Why You Need to Aim Small to Make a Big Difference in the World

Note: This is a guest post from Chris Marlow. Chris is the founder of Help One Now, the author of Doing Good is Simple, and a speaker at this year’s Tribe Conference.

Have you ever felt empty in a moment where you thought you should feel excitement and joy?

Why You Need to Aim Small to Make a Big Difference in the World

I know I have, and I’m guessing you may have also. Let me introduce myself: I’m Chris, the founder of Help One Now. We do some really cool stuff around the world, and we have a saying that I believe to be true: What if doing good was simple?

I know what you might be thinking: “Doing good is hard.” Well, let’s hold that thought and return for a moment to what it means to feel empty.

Over the years, the most amazing people have been involved in Help One Now’s story. Some are TV stars, professional athletes, and best-selling authors. But the majority of people involved are everyday normal people–doctors and dads, entrepreneurs and moms, and everyone from teachers to pastors to plumbers.

They all have a lot in common—discipline, drive, and the desire to accomplish much. Many are on the path to meeting and exceeding their expectations of life. They are building their dreams, reaching their goals, and moving toward the other side of success.

Yet, many faced the same struggle. Despite their ongoing “success,” they still felt a sense of emptiness.

Why is this?

Fighting the drift of life

Truth be told, we sometimes get so busy doing whatever it takes to reach our goals that we forget this simple, essential fact: We live in an interconnected world, and each of us matters.

We have passions, talents, and the ability to make the world more beautiful, and we exist to use those gifts to write, sing, paint, create, and build businesses that make the world better.

Yet, it’s so easy to drift, to get caught up in our own dreams, goals, and hopes that we don’t realize that we should be living our lives for others, not just for ourselves and our family.

Otherwise, we will never fulfill the deep desire in our soul to be a good neighbor, to live generous lives, to help people flourish and overcome, to love people who are broken, to extend grace to people who have failed, and to seek justice for people who have been mistreated.

Doing good and living a life that matters is important. Every human–each one of us, down deep in our soul–craves meaning and purpose. We all want to be part of something far bigger than ourselves. All the success, all the money, all the accomplishments in the world can feel meaningless if we do not also do something to make the world more beautiful.

Doing good really is simple and significant. We need you! You matter; the world cannot and will not be the same if you don’t become “others focused.”

Yet, often we don’t do good because we don’t know how. We’re too busy; the demands of life have us feeling as if we’re constantly in the middle of the ocean, and we’re just doing whatever we can do to get to the shore.

We have one life, filled with a few moments that tend to go fast. We can allow the demands of the world to keep us feeling overwhelmed and busy, or we can take control and live intentional, focused, and meaningful lives.

It’s your call.

Small is the new big

In my book, Doing Good is Simple, I talk about three obstacles, three reasons WHY we fail to do good:

  1. We’re overwhelmed.
  2. There are too many problems.
  3. The problems are too big.

Have you been there? I have, and it’s okay. The issues we are facing are very complex and can feel nearly impossible to solve.

But the majority of people don’t need to worry about the macro problems. You probably don’t have the time, energy, or information. That is not your fight. Leave it to those who are vocationally called.

One of the most significant ways you can change the world is to partner with others who are already doing it, and then take small, significant steps in the right direction.

Yes, the problems we face are big, but it’s far better to focus on the small. Here’s what I mean: You might not be able to fix all the problems in the world, but what if you focused on just a few?

For example, there’s a story in my book that shows how small can be really big.

In 2012, Help One Now gave a $300 microloan to a family in Zimbabwe who used it to start a chicken farm. I had a chance to visit the family the following year, and I asked the father what he liked best about having his own business. I was expecting him to mention the greater financial security the family had, or the fact that his kids were regularly in school, or their future potential.

Instead, he answered, “What I love the most is that every Thursday, I’m able to take my son to get an ice cream cone.”

Sometimes, doing good and making a difference is simply helping a dad buy an ice cream cone for his son. When all of the world’s problems seem so big, so out of our reach, just remember this: $300 literally transformed an entire family’s future.

Maybe we can’t help everyone, but we can help ONE family. And if we all did that, imagine the possibilities, the beauty, the impact!

The simplicity of doing good

Now, maybe you have succeeded. You’ve reached your goals. You have achieved your dream, and you’re trying to process how to give back–how to leverage that success to make a difference. Or, maybe you’re striving to reach your goals now. Either way, the real question is this: How can you use what you have to make the world better?

Imagine the possibilities, living a story with more meaning and adding value to others because of your success, because of who you are, and because of your unique gifts. To me, that just seems like a better life, a better way to live. What do you think?

Doing good is simple, and yes, it is significant. Together with big and small acts of kindness, we can make the world brighter. I think we’d all agree the world needs that right now.

Do good.
Do good well.
And do good together!

Chris’ new book, Doing Good is Simple, is available now. As a bonus, Chris is offering my readers a free copy of my book The Art of Work to the first 100 people who order a copy of his book.Just fill out this form.

Chris Marlow is the founder of Help One Now. Chris is the author of Doing Good is Simple, a sought-after speaker, and he lives in Raleigh, North Carolina, with his wife, two daughters, and a German Shepherd.

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