affect change

Do you feel you can affect change?

A straightforward question but it delivers a sense of what is possible or impossible. Can we affect change?

I stood in line to vote. In my early voting place, people were standing in line and getting ready to make their selections. It was invigorating to see. Voting is a great responsibility, and I am glad individuals are turning out to make their voice heard. As I was driving away, the election is still on my mind. Every year, we seem to say – “This year is the worst we have seen in negativity.” Without a doubt, this year is no different.

Many people are dissatisfied, and it shows up in many places. Do people still believe they can affect change?

Positivity or negativity can drive change or raise apathy.

Affect Change – Your Vote

The results are in from the survey included when this post was published. We asked four simple questions, and 58 individuals gave their honest answers.

  1. Do you feel you can affect change in your personal life? 100 percent said “yes.”
  2. Do you feel you can affect change in your team? 91 percent said “yes.”
  3. Do you feel you can affect change in your organization? 79 percent said “yes.”
  4. Do you feel you can affect change in your community? 63 percent said “yes.”

Although this is not a scientific survey, it provides a sense of what some readers feel about change.

What I gather from these results are is that we feel we can affect change the closer we are to what needs to be changed. One-hundred percent said they feel they can affect change in their personal life, and this is an encouraging result. Many do not feel trapped in their situations; they can make change happen in their life (a good thing!).

As people move out to their team, organization, and community, we get less sure of what we can change. With only 63 percent believing they can affect change in their community, the result makes sense but is frustrating, too. Just as we can take steps to make change in our personal lives, we also can take steps to ignite change in our communities. The challenge is in getting others to join in. No different than what we need to do in our teams and organizations; we need to find ways to get others energized by the change needed.

More to consider here (and more to be written later), but we continue with the original post on how we feel about impacting change.

(This section was updated with the results on November 21, 2016. Thank you to all that participated and are reading!)

Voting to Affect Change

Change happens when we vote, and we vote in different ways. For example:

  • In elections, we vote for our candidates and preferences for issues on the ballot.
  • In life, we vote by the choices we make in how we exercise, what we eat, what we do and don’t do, and so many other daily, monthly, and yearly choices.
  • In work, we vote by whether we stay or not or what we participate in or not.
  • In community, we vote by our involvement. Do we choose to get to know our neighbors or help with a local issue?

We vote a lot, especially when we think about it. How often we change or how often change happens is another issue.

A Change Feeling

Feeling we can change is an emotion. Emotions carry weight in how passionate we may be about an issue or situation. Emotions can sidetrack us as easy as they can activate us. Emotions create a bigger investment in whether or not we believe change is a valid option. Emotions also boil over to a point of stalemate and frustration.

Emotions are a switch. Positive emotions engage us to lead change. Negative emotions can bury change. We can look at each in a different way, too. Positive emotions can keep change just as a possibility – a big dream without any realistic steps forward. Negative emotions can incite change by motivating us to no longer accept specific situations. Tapping into our emotions in the right way is essential to crafting the right change feeling within.

Driving Change and Participating in Change

While certain times will call us to drive change, other times will require us to be active participants. What triggers driving versus participating? Some include:

  • Generational shifts
  • Freshness of experience
  • Shared experiences
  • Experienced experiences
  • Learning experiences
  • Mindset shifts

What triggers driving or participating is empathy. Empathy is two-fold. First, we need to have self-empathy. We need to know where our emotions are along with where we are empowering others to take the lead. Second, we need to have empathy in others. We need to listen attentively to passions and readiness to jump in by those around us.

Empathy is more than listening to our inner voice and the voices of our peers, colleagues, and contributors. Empathy also is converting what we hear to taking action. We need to challenge and guide others to lead change and take a step up.

Leaders: Our Change Responsibility

If we consider ourselves leaders, then we need to know how people feel about change. As leaders, we need to create the environment in which positive change can happen without unnecessary resistance. As participants and team members, we need to step up to changes necessary and do our part. When we come together and create the right change feeling, we begin to make real change happen with positive outcomes.

Next Steps: Change

We need a sense of where we are in terms of affecting change. Take 30 seconds and vote on how you feel about change. Getting a sense of how people are feeling about change says a lot about what we need to do next as corporate and community citizens.

More than a yes or no vote, jump in with your thoughts.

In the comment section below, how are you feeling about how you can affect change? Are you feeling empowered or powered down? What will change your change feeling?