Finding your niche as a change maker can be challenging. Start this process by getting clear about your strengths, passions and skills.
Becoming a change maker is usually a difficult personal journey to undertake. Mostly, the process unfolds over several phases: first, there is an increasingly painful awareness of the worsening state of the world; second, is the realisation that you need to take action; third, is working out what to do as a change agent and taking the leap – or, as often happens, taking the leap and only then working out what to do as you muddle through.
For Robert Zipplies, this unfolding process all came to a head about 15 years ago, with the realisation that he could no longer, in clear conscience, look after his own best personal interests while knowingly abating our ongoing societal breakdown. The realisation that the issues we face are very serious, combined with his seeming impotence, was the worst phase and took its emotional toll. And it wasn’t a surprise that he ended up clinically depressed for a good year or so – something he later discovered can be common among fledgling change agents.
It was a great emotional relief for Robert to leap into the unknown, boldly declaring that he would ‘be the change’ that the world needed. But this relief was short-lived, once he faced up to the difficult challenge of working out just how to go about doing that while still paying the bills.
How then does one reduce the time and physical and emotional energy required to find one’s niche as a change maker?
Playing to your strengths
What I now advise fledgling change agents, or those not yet quite settled in their role as change agents, is to spend quality time working out (a) their personal strengths – your natural talents, (b) their areas of passion and (c) their existing core skills. There are some good online strength finders, either free or paid for, that are useful to help you discover your natural talents.
The more thorough you are in completing the above three steps, the more likely you are to find your sweet-spot as a change maker, where neither the boredom levels on the one side, nor the anxiety levels on the other side are too high, and you are enjoying yourself and get into a state of flow.
Once you have developed a strong passions-skills-strengths foundation, then it is time to develop a personal vision and an action plan in your journey towards becoming a maker.
If you are interested in learning more about this process and would like to be coached through the initial steps of becoming a change maker, then join the course Robert is facilitating in August, in partnership with the ChangeMaker Programme.
Becoming a Change Maker
- Dates: 11 – 13 August
- Cost: R 2000 (includes lunches and tea breaks) (limited number of bursaries are available)
- Venue: Sustainability Institute, Stellenbosch
The focus of this course is to explore what your role as change-maker can be in our society going forward. We tend to expect that the solutions outside of ourselves (be it technology, infrastructure, legislation, etc) will solve the sustainability crisis, yet we tend to ignore the fact that the world out there is a manifestation of what happens within the human mind – an aspect this course prioritises.
Join a group of inspired and inspiring individuals as we explore topics that you may already have begun to consider or topics that you can’t wait to explore.
These among others include:
- Identifying and matching your areas of passion with your strengths and skills.
- Developing a personal vision, ideas and plans for action.
- Learning to work with values and frames (Common Cause approach).
- Discovering other useful psychology-of-change tools for winning over hearts and minds.
- Improving the effectiveness of your communication efforts.
- Learning from accomplished social innovators, activists and change agents.
- Working with yourself to enhance your capabilities as a change agent.
Course facilitator: Robert Zipplies
Robert does not believe in the status quo. He believes in and works towards a society that is prepared to think and act differently in tackling poverty, corruption, environmental degradation, rampant materialism and other injustices. He considers himself to be a cultural creative – an activist for change that benefits all – and assists organisations and individuals develop the understanding and ability to drive deeper positive change.
RSVP and contact person: firstname.lastname@example.org
Accommodation is available at the Lynedoch Drie Gewels Guesthouse, situated right next to the Sustainability Institute.