If you’ve been following my advice on how to build your personal road map to being an effective everyday activist, you’ve triaged your issues and picked those on which you commit to being a leader. And you’ve done the research to find others who are prioritizing and focusing on your core issues too, so can join them and, not reinvent the wheel nor try to swoop in as a savior when others have been doing unsung work. And you’ve assessed your own capabilities, skills, and assets and figured out how you can contribute to making the progress you seek.
Last but not least: Give yourself permission to track your wins, even small wins, even incremental wins, and celebrate them.
When you’re trying to make change, whether at a company, in your community, or for the world, it’s rarely a straightforward and efficient path from idea to execution to completion. Change can be slow, can be frustrating, can be a lot of hard work. You may feel like you’re taking way more losses than wins. So every single win is important. Track it. Take it. Share it. Allow yourself to be fueled by it.
Now, it’s hard to know if you even have a win or a loss if you haven’t defined what that looks like. It’s no different than knowing if you’re doing a good job at work…if you haven’t specified and defined what success looks like it can all get a bit squishy come, for example, performance review time.
Set some goals. And my advice is to set a variety of goals. Some tactical goals, some strategic. Some long-term goals, some short-term. Increase your chances of having a regular drumbeat of wins to celebrate…as a way of motivating yourself, and as a way to encourage others to join you because you are about activating with joy.
What might this look like?
Let’s say your long-term strategic goal is to provide best-in-class benefits to all employees because it’s a recruiting and retention tool, because it would manifest your values, and because it would help your employees from traditionally marginalized groups to begin to catch-up…which you believe would be good for their health, the health of your company, and the health of society.
That’s a BIG, strategic, long-term goal that would be hard to simply snap your fingers and manifest.
You could break this into chunks, though. You could prioritize the benefits, hopefully with input from your staff on which ones would really mean the most to them.
You could then take each category of benefit and break that into what it would look like in a beginning, intermediate and ultimate state.
You’ll need to define them, price them, understand their relative impact on your bottom line. And then, finally, start implementing them.
Using my own company, BlogHer, as an example: When we got our first round of funding and were able to hire our first FTEs, it was very important to us to offer health care benefits to employees and their partners/dependents. It was our number one value we wanted to express. We covered 100% of our employee’s premium and 75% for dependents. Being very mindful that it is much better to only add to your benefits package, rather than have to scale back, it was really the primary benefit we offered besides salary and options.
Later we would add dental and vision. Later we would add disability coverage. Later we would organize a 401K for employees (without matching). And so on…steadily building our benefits package. Yes, we were still working toward the ultimate package when we sold the company, buy each benefit added was a win.
Focusing only on what we hadn’t done yet would have been self-defeating. Being able to articulate the winning steps along the way to that package instilled us with a sense of pride and motivation and showed our employees exactly what we were trying to do.
Track and take the wins as they come. Celebrate when you can, as an antidote to all the times you’ll need to figure out how to adapt or pivot in the face of a loss.
Trust me, you’ll need every celebration!