Thanks for giving me a few minutes of free time when you could be playing Pokemon Go or swiping through potential soulmates on Bumble.
If you’ve been paying attention to current events recently, you probably feel similarly to how I do: It seems like the world really sucks right now and there’s not much I can do about it.
Every day I swipe to the news page in my phone and read about another shooting, another racially-tense issue, or another celebrity doing something stupid (BTW thanks Apple News for all the recent press on T.Swift and Kim K, it’s only killed a couple brain cells).
Everywhere we turn is more bad news, more violence, more people in pain.
It’s discouraging. It’s scary. And it’s even easy to become apathetic as the list of tragedies keeps growing and our ability to help or create change seems so small.
But, fellow millennial, there’s something I want to tell you.
Pretty soon, our generation is going to be in leadership roles. We are going to be the CEOs, the government, the media, the pastors, the nonprofit leaders.
Notice something important here: I said that we’ll be in leadership roles, not that we’ll have influence.
That’s what I want to talk to you about.
The world needs people running companies who care about fair-trade and who stop using cheap labor as justification for slavery. It needs church leaders who mobilize their congregations to make sustainable change in the community. It needs nonprofit leaders who are willing to partner and build coalitions to pool resources and influence. It obviously needs smart, ethical politicians. The world needs people in power positions who are generous, strategic, and compassionate.
It’s natural that our generation will step into running companies, governmental organizations, nonprofits, and churches. People retire or step down and our generation gets promoted and steps up.
It’s not a question of whether it will happen or not, it’s a question of what we do with it.
And what we do with it will be determined by what we do now.
Now is the time we work to gain influence. Now, when we’re relatively new in our careers, when we’re dreaming of 5 and 10 year plans. Now is the time to put our heads down, build our character, and gain influence. Now is the time to figure out what kind of people we want to be. We are stepping into a world that desperately needs leaders rooted in truth, strength, ethics, and compassion. How are we working to grow these traits?
Here’s my thought:
For now, work hard. Develop yourself as a leader, as an influencer. Build your skill set. It’s rare to find people who are as compassionate as they are business savvy. Develop both parts. Take classes, read books, listen to podcasts, get mentored, volunteer, travel, gain perspective on the world around you. Promise to become well-rounded. Right now, work to understand, not to be understood. Learn about people’s pain and train your eyes to spot inconsistencies organizationally and ethically. Become valuable. Gain influence.
And then, you’ll be able to make change.
In the meantime, spread a message of love, inclusion, and compassion. I don’t just mean on social media channels. Find ways to tangibly make change around you. Spend time pouring into youth who need role models and love your neighbors well. Find a people group that you feel broken for and find a way to get involved.
Train now to be the type of leader who can create real change in the world.
Work for love. Work for the world. Work for influence.
I believe in us.