I want to share a terrific video with you, but you will need to read the explanation, too. Stick with me, I’m going somewhere with this one…
This video brought tears to my eyes. Okay, stop laughing at me, hear me out:
One guy can start a dance party. One person can change the world.
What did this guy do right? Lots of things that we can replicate in other areas of our work (though, I’d recommend following his lead with dancing, too!):
- Bring your heart: Your community will know if you aren’t creating opportunities for action or support that are from the heart of your mission. Had this guy just been “going through the motions” then none of those others would have been inspired to join him. We all get burnt out, whether we are dancing, canvassing, emailing or speaking for the changes we want to see happen. If you feel like you need a new jolt of energy to be inspiring others from the heart of your mission, then reconnect with those you are serving, listen to their stories, share their stories, and in the process you’ll be inspired, too.
- Stay focused: We all create goals and benchmarks and metrics. But when we get down in the weeds of our projects and campaigns it is easy to take our eyes off the mission and direction we are headed. Had this dancer been happy to recruit one or even a handful of other dancers, he may have turned around, talked with them, and maybe even stopped dancing to go hang out with these new friends. But his eyes were on the mission at hand: dance. He continued dancing with the same spirit and mission when he had no one with him, when he had one and a handful of others, and when he had a crowd. Obviously measuring success and evaluating our programs along the way is crucial to reaching our goals, but staying focused on the mission is incredibly important so that we don’t get caught up in thinking we’ve reached the goal when we get a few others to dance with us.
- Empower the community: We can’t change the world completely alone. It will take the collaboration, support, and hard work of many people who will never be listed on your website, included on your payroll, or even meet you in person. It’s important that your mission, your work, your message be something others can pick up and carry with you to help stretch your reach. This dancer provided an opportunity for others to join him and in turn inspire others from their networks to join the cause, too.
- Choose your moments: Timeliness is important, so is strategy and planning. But when you nail something, when you give the community what they need, when they need it, you’re going to be successful. How do you know what they need and when they need it? You listen, you participate, you join the community instead of watching it or trying to manage it. We’ve all seen folks strike up a dance on a street corner and have witnessed that those people rarely inspire others to join them. Why? Because it isn’t what the passerbys really need or when they need it. At this concert, out in the sun in a beautiful location (I miss the Pacific Northwest!), some heartfelt dancing is exactly what the community needed and right when they needed it, too.
Dancing my be contagious, but so is social change – go out there and dance with all your heart!
I big, heartfelt thanks to @EngageJoe for sharing the video 🙂