Sunday, April 24, 2011

The Past 46 Days - What I've Learned

To be honest, when I started this challenge, I wasn't sure I would complete it. Not that I didn't believe in what I was doing, far from it. But I'm the person who, in the past, had a built-in back up system for falling off the Lent wagon. For every slip up, I would charge myself $10 in the past and donate that money to charity. So, did that mean I would donate $10 to charity for every day I missed in this challenge? What if my challenge was already donating to a charity? Hmmm, my backup system might not have worked...

Well, surprisingly, I've made it. It's Easter which means the end of Lent and the end of this 46-day experiment. Honestly, the hardest part of the whole thing, was picking which programs I wanted to participate in. We've teamed up with close to 90 organizations and from that list, we have featured several different programs within those organizations. How could I narrow it down to 46?

Here's how I did it. I picked issues that meant the most to me. From animal extinction to cancer awareness, these are issues that I support wholeheartedly. If I was going to commit one minute every day to an idea, I wanted it to be something that I'm passionate about. I also was particular about not picking ideas that I already implement in my life. For instance, we've done a number of videos highlighting green ideas. If it was an idea that I already do, like using the back of paper as scrap paper, or using my left over water to feed my plants, I didn't want those actions to count. This left room for other ideas.

So what did I learn?
#1 I have more time than I thought I had. When you break down this challenge into one minute actions over a long period of time, it becomes attainable. It's not as overwhelming and harder to put off or avoid.

#2 I have finally crossed things off my to do list. For instance, I wanted to adopt a soldier since we filmed our video about the program, but always had a host of reasons why right now wasn't the right time. Now I'm signed up and have already written three letters. I look forward to continuing the correspondance as her deployment continues.

#3 My sister was right. Shhh, don't tell her that - as her little sister, I have to retain a certain amount of resistance to her ways. But her advice was true. As I mentioned in my exchange on Ode Magazine Commit to Making an Impact, Jess said to me - "Lent is a great time for a busy person (i.e. me) to slow down and reflect on life." It was more meaningful and important to me to take on this challenge than to withhold chocolate, caffeine or sugar from my diet. She is very wise, and I'm very grateful to her every day. This picture (taken by accident I may add) - encapsulates how I think of her. She is the captain of this What You Can Do Ship, and I'm honored to hold the camera.

She's my parents' greatest gift to me ♥. (Don't tell her I told you that either).

#4 Like George McFly says in the greatest movie of all time, Back to the Future. If you put your mind to it, you can accomplish anything. And that's how I'm going to think of this project from now on. If we want to make a difference, we can.

Even if you only have one minute, there is something you can do about it. Be the change you want to see in the world, come on let's show them What We Can Do!


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