The Danger of Feeling Insignificant

Each one of us can make a difference. Together, we make change.

~Senator Barbara Mikulski


It’s a refrain I hear often.

“I’m just not important enough.”

As in: “It’s not like my comments really make a difference anyway. I’m only one person. That’s just not enough.”

Or: “I’ve been donating $5 a month, but that’s just not enough to do much of anything.”

And: “I could give them an hour of my time – but that’s just not enough to make a difference, so why bother?”

Just not enough.

Again, and again – in all kinds of situations and with all manner of volunteers, activists and candidates, I hear this dangerous phrase.

It’s dangerous both because it’s not true, and because of what it does to us mentally.

When we feel insignificant and unable to make change, it’s easy to just … stop. Stop calling, stop donating, stop giving our time. We retreat to this place of inaction – the very place that got us into the predicament we’re in.

Oh, I understand why it happens. It’s the same reason that it’s hard to get people to recycle (“It’s not like my plastic bottles are going to make a dent in this problem, so why bother?”), why it’s hard to get people to save for retirement (“Saving $50 a month isn’t going to get me anywhere – it’s just not enough. So why bother?”), and why it can be hard to get people to vote (“He’s not going to win anyway. My vote just isn’t enough to make a difference in this election. So why bother?”).

It’s a mindset that’s hard to break.

But break it we must.

Now, I know that you know what I’m saying is true. But I also know how hard it is to keep going even if – especially if – you don’t see an immediate result. But when we let go – when we stop exerting our own influence, when we back ourselves into the shadows and silence our own voices, we cede control of our society over to the people who have the resolve to keep going.

And you and I are tougher than that.

We’re more important than that.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. Individually we sparkle, but together we light the way. When you hide your sparkle, you deprive us of your light. And you make it harder for all of us to see the way ahead.

So when you find yourself shrugging and dismissing your own involvement because you’re feeling “just not enough” – snap yourself out of it.

We need you.

In fact, we can’t do this without you.

Yes, you.

Let’s get to work.


Actions

Before we get to actions, I want to thank you… and apologize. I’m really grateful that so many of you shared your reactions to the election and suggestions for change. It’s fascinating to hear so many different perspectives – so please keep them coming! But I have to apologize because I am woefully behind responding to all of you that have e-mailed. I promise that you’ll each get a personal email from me. I swear!

Tuesday: Mike Espy – a Democratic Senator From Mississippi?

In case you haven’t heard, Mike Espy – Democratic candidate for U.S. Senator – is in a runoff next Tuesday in deep red Mississippi. Some folks have asked me – could a Democrat win that race? My answer: Donald Trump is President of the United States. Literally anything is possible. And Mike Espy happens to be a great and well-respected candidate.

So let’s go for broke.

You can sign up to phone bank, canvass or text bank at his website here: https://espyforsenate.com/volunteer/

If you’re into Postcards to Voters, you can go to Abby the Addressbot (www.postcardstovoters.org) and get a few addresses – but you should hurry because you need to get them out the door today or tomorrow.

Wednesday: Be Thankful for What We Have and Help Those Who Go Without This Holiday

This Thanksgiving will be particularly hard for many Californians who have lost so very much in the wildfires that have ravaged the state. It’s heartbreaking. So this holiday, as you think about what you’re thankful for, consider contributing to help those who have been impacted by the fires in California.

There are a number of organizations that are trying to help the people who have been displaced by the fires, but I can’t highlight them all. There is, however, one that I see again and again in resources for people looking for the best way to help: The California Community Foundation’s Wildfire Relief Fund. It’s a longstanding and well-respected fund that supports relief and recovery efforts. It is also currently waiving any fees on gifts to the fund, ensuring that 100% of the donations made go to fire recovery/relief. You can make donations by going here: https://www.calfund.org/wildfire-relief-fund/

Thursday: Happy Thanksgiving!

You’re going to be up to your elbows in stuffing (some of you literally!) so let’s just take a break today to give thanks that we have one another each week. Know that I’m thankful and grateful for you! I’ll be thinking of all of you that have … err … “difficult” family members to manage. I’m with you in spirit!

Friday: Think Local, Thank Local

A question: have you reached out to the local candidates and nominees that you voted for and/or admired and thanked them for running? Or maybe asked them to run again?

I was in a group of women the other day – all of whom were talking about an amazing first-time candidate that we loved. And we started openly musing about whether she was going to run again. And I asked: “Hey, has anyone emailed her to thank her for running and to tell her that we loved her campaign? You know, just saying what we’re saying right now – but to her?”

Nobody had.

I don’t know a single person who dislikes being thanked. But I know a lot of people who wonder if their contributions are seen and appreciated.

So on Friday, send a quick note to the candidates that you admired, the campaign staff that made an impression, the volunteers that you think are the bee’s knees – whomever you think “gosh, I wonder if ____ knows that we all think she did a great job…”. Even if you don’t hear back from them, I promise it will make them smile. And won’t that feel good?

I think so, too.


P.S.: Yes, I am indeed a copywriter! I take a limited number of clients, and with the political cycle ending, I’ll have some openings soon. Visit www.mhornish.com to learn more.

P.P.S.: If you want to help support this work (and help me “keep the lights on,” so to speak), you can do so via Patreon at
https://www.patreon.com/smalldeedsdone or via paypal at https://www.paypal.me/smalldeeds
My deepest gratitude in advance.

Why don’t you make someone’s day and send this pep talk to a friend or two? I bet they need it.

If you’d like to sign up to get this pep talk and action list in your in-box each week, you can do that here. Welcome, friend!

Thank you for reading. Thank you for writing. I read and respond to every e-mail. (Really! I really do!) We’re in this together.

Have a thought? A small deed to suggest? Share it here!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s