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Changing Your Game, Changing The World [Day 24 – 30 Days to Changing Your Game]

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This is Day 24 of 30 Days to Changing Your Game. Yesterday Dave Navarro dug in deep on what being a game-changer is REALLY going to be like, and today Nate St. Pierre is focusing us on how we can use changing our own game to change the world. I know you are up to the challenge!

Changing Your Game, Changing The World

by Nate St. Pierre (@ItStartsWithUs)

One year ago I promised myself that I would change the world.

Nine months ago I began the ItStartsWith.Us project by writing my first blog post.

I haven’t made a dime since.

I haven’t made any money, but I have made a difference. As a result of this project, I now lead a team of close to a thousand people in the simple concept of making a positive impact in the lives of those around us. Every week we all join in a shared “mission” that takes 15 minutes or less to complete. It’s a small effort on the individual level, but collectively we are able to do some amazing things and make a huge difference in people’s lives.

“Changing your game” can mean a lot of different things. When I hear this phrase mentioned in the online world, I instinctively brace myself, because I expect it to be followed by some variation of this series of admonishments (usually by someone selling something):  find your passion, throw yourself headlong into it, don’t listen to the critics, use social media to crush it, and then quit your demoralizing 9-to-5 cubicle job and live the life you deserve, doing what you love and making a ton of money at the same time.

That’s one way to look at it. You could also take “changing your game” to mean something like this: finding valuable work that you truly love to do, whether or not you get paid for it. This is the route I’ve taken, and I’ve never found such an incredible level of personal satisfaction with any other job I’ve had.

I don’t know exactly what you’re trying to accomplish in the long term, and maybe at this point you don’t either. But I think a great place to start is by finding something that adds value to your life . . . something you’d do for free if given the opportunity. Whatever that thing is, get out there and start doing it. Start small. Do it for a few hours on weekends. Work on it after the family goes to bed. Pay attention to how you feel before, during and after. Was it worth it? Are you happy with the results? Excited to do it again tomorrow? If the answer is a consistent ‘yes’ over the course of a few months, you’ve got a good thing going – keep at it. If not, try something else.

Here’s the nice thing about doing it this way – you put yourself in a win-win situation. The truth of the matter is that, no matter what all the folks who are “internet famous” will tell you, passion is not profitable. You can work as hard and long as you want at something you love, but unless it’s something that people are willing to pay for, you’re not going to make any money at it. And even if they are willing to pay for it, you have to have a fair amount of business sense to make it profitable enough to turn it into a full-time job. It’s really, really tough to do. But if you can find a way to do what you love on your own terms and your own time, you’ve already got a win, whether you end up making money on it or not. And if you’re good (or lucky) enough to find a way to make a living at it, then you’ve found the holy grail – earning a lot of money doing something you love. And if you’re already enjoying what you do, you can afford to take your time and grow into your business the right way, without putting undue pressure on yourself.

In my case, I had a big idea to change the world – a web-based platform that would connect people who need help with other people who have the time, talent and skills to provide it. But instead of going for the gold right off the bat like I usually do, this time I decided to start small. I began by writing a simple blog, sharing stories about people who were making a difference in this world in ways both large and small. I got out on Twitter and started to meet people. Soon a community began growing around the site, and I started to spend more time on it. About six months ago I had an idea for a global team of individuals who would work together once a week on an activity that could make a big difference in the lives of the people around them. More and more people joined the team, and again I started to spend more time on the project. For the last six months, I’ve averaged 30 hours per week on ItStartsWith.Us. This is on top of my full-time job as the web team leader at a big company, and all the time I spend with my family and three kids. As I mentioned before, I haven’t made a dime. I do what I do because I love seeing the impact it has in people’s lives . . . and in my own.

I am passionate about what I do, but I’m not going to throw out the common phrase “it doesn’t even seem like work,” because the fact of the matter is, there are times when it very much seems like work . . . because that’s exactly what it is.

But when you know your work is valuable, when you know it’s something you would gladly do for free simply because you believe in it, when you know it makes a difference in the lives of the people around you, that’s when you know you’ve found something worth spending your life on. Because at the end of the day that’s what we’re doing . . . we’re trading a portion of our lives in pursuit of something bigger than ourselves.

So let’s make sure the time we invest is worth it.

Start small.
Do what you love.
Change your game.

Change the world.

So what are you guys working on? What do you want your game to be? What are you excited about? Let’s talk about it and see if we can help each other out a bit and make some connections…

Nate St. Pierre launched the ItStartsWith.Us project in 2009 to fulfill his pledge to change the world. He organizes, directs and supports a global team of caring individuals.

If you’d like to get in touch with Nate, please email [email protected] or call 414-215-0238.

If you don’t want to miss out on the 30 Days to Changing Your Game, please sign up here.

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