I woke up this morning before both of my children, a rare occurrence when you are a parent of tiny humans with constant needs. Lying in bed, I soaked in the stillness and quietness of the moment, knowing it was fleeting and appreciating it even more because of that. I let my mind follow my breath (not the other way around for once) and felt a sense of calm that I had been missing, and welcomed it in like an old friend I hadn’t connected with in a while.

Life has held a certain heaviness these past few weeks with all of the natural disasters, catastrophes, human hate, and political unrest. And on top of this global load, we have also lost dear friends and family members to illness, accidents, and time and chance. As an emotive person, I finally hit a point where I felt empty of tears from it all. I needed space to heal, rest, and reconnect so I could contribute and continue on.

And maybe you’re feeling some of the same heaviness, too, for your own reasons. Heaviness generally makes us want to protect ourselves, shrink inward, and even hide from it all when life feels like too much to process and handle. But we were not made to shrink and hide. We were made to show up and serve.

This is the great equalizer and common denominator, no matter who you are, where you live, or what circumstances you find yourself in: You have the powerful choice to decide your mindset and take action (or stay in inaction) accordingly.

You decide how you show up.

You also decide if you show up or sit out (even if this doesn’t feel like a choice sometimes, it always is).

And your showing up is the first step toward the difference you can make.

American cultural anthropologist, Margaret Mead, is known for saying “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” And it starts with the desire and the willingness to be a change agent and advocate, whether that’s at home with your family or on a larger community or global landscape.

This month, we’re highlighting the intention of Impact and how you can make a difference. We’ll share a new model that highlights Four Levels of Impact, and invite you to dive in with us this month to explore how you can start where you are to do something that matters!

Four Levels of Impact

We want to encourage you to live a life driven by intentional influence so we’ve created our Four Levels of Impact model to show you various ways to make a difference. We know that everyone is at a different place with their available resources and ability for commitment. That’s why this model welcomes any level of involvement and simply starts with acknowledging “Yes, I can do something beyond myself. Yes, I will start where I am now and try.”

Level One: Contribute

Whether it’s donating to a cause you believe in or volunteering your time at a local nonprofit, you have something you can contribute. Don’t talk yourself out of giving if your wallet is empty or your time is already stretched. Find one thing you can do for another person and start there. My friend, Sarah Thompson, started the Sacramento Kindness Campaign by baking a single quiche for someone in need, and now her movement changing lives through sponsoring bigger projects. What’s your quiche moment? One simple action can have lasting ripple effects.

Level Two: Serve

Serving becomes personal because it is based on connection. When you devote your time, energy, and resources to helping someone else, a bond is formed and lives are changed. Consider what drives your desire to serve and then partner with an organization or help an individual. Each community has needs that are often unmet because we lack awareness of the need or don’t know where to start. Two great sites we recommend are Just Serve and Volunteer Match that list many one-time and ongoing service opportunities. Start here to get connected and see where your service leads you.

Level Three: Organize

As you notice a need, begin to explore solutions. Whether it’s a local issue or a larger systemic problem, talk to others about why it matters and begin to brainstorm sustainable solutions together. Then connect with these passionate people and organize around the cause. It could be anything from launching a fundraising campaign to planning a day of service or holding an open forum discussion to raise awareness about a community issue. Another local friend and immigration attorney, Tiffani Sharp, founded Willow Tree Roots to provide socioeconomic empowerment to women living in vulnerable conditions internationally. We’ll be sharing more about Tiffani’s journey later this month in our next Millennial Spotlight podcast so you can learn how her idea became a reality when she was willing to mobilize her mission.

Level Four: Move

If you’re ready to do more and feel called to serve domestically or even internationally, you may consider uprooting to have a more cross-cultural service experience. In our first year of marriage, Joel and I partnered with a non-profit and moved to Amman, Jordan to serve as volunteer teachers in local schools. While we had traveled to many other countries before, there was something totally different and life changing about becoming a resident and expat, not just a visitor or traveler. Through our longer-term commitment to service abroad, we were able to make a bigger impact and share some amazing experiences together. Opportunities like Teach for America, AmeriCorps, and The Peace Corps all organize longer-term projects in various locations if you’re curious about moving somewhere new to have a more in-depth service experience.

Showing Up Now

For me, this time of year is particularly significant. Spiritually it represents the hope and promise of something more. Something different that is life changing and powerful. Something that we must learn to be now and model for our children, families, coworkers, and community members, even when the world feels raw and heavy.

Whatever level you are at now, it all starts with the choice to show up and the desire to serve.

You decide what role you want to play and what impact you make.

…as a curious community member wanting to contribute

…as a victim holding a torch with bridges to burn

…as an advocate for social change and revolution

…as a passive onlooker unsure of what to do

…as an engaged citizen who is ready to make a difference

Showing up makes the difference. Even if you don’t have answers or know how to help.

Start by asking the questions. Then listen and respond with compassion.

Simply start where you are and choose to show up.

More Ways To Make an Impact

Here are some great sites that will help you on your journey to making an impact. Feel free to leave comments on other resources or ideas you have as well!

Be the Revolution,

Leslie Bosserman, M.Ed., CPCC

Executive Coach + Lifestyle Strategist for Millennial Leaders + Managers

More About Leslie

Leslie M. Bosserman, M.Ed., CPCC, is an Executive Coach + Lifestyle Strategist designing customized leadership solutions for Millennial Leaders and their Managers. With a background in strengths-based leadership development and applied positive psychology, she runs a multi-disciplinary practice called Lead With Intention where she coaches, trains, and consults with clients around the world.

Leslie works with a variety of clients ranging from top executives at worldwide corporations to creative entrepreneurs and non-profit teams. She is an avid artist who also enjoys traveling, karaoke, cooking ethnic food, writing in local coffee shops, and practicing yoga.

Leslie lives in Northern California and travels internationally for coaching, organizational trainings, and retreat facilitation. You can connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and Medium or send her an email at [email protected] to learn how to partner together.

Originally published at leadwithintention.com on October 1, 2017


  • Leslie M. Bosserman

    Founder and Executive Coach

    Lead With Intention®

    Leslie M. Bosserman, M.Ed., CPCC is an Executive Coach and Lifestyle Strategist for innovators and creative professionals leading dynamic and diverse teams. As a creative thought leader, Leslie has spoken at TEDxEustis and is currently writing a book on a decade of research around the science of Emotional Endurance. After working for a decade in higher education and student development, Leslie launched Lead With Intention® – a boutique coaching and consulting practice that specializes in leadership coaching, customized training, and organizational strategy for clients and their teams around the world. She collaborates with a range of creative professionals from entrepreneurs launching their startups to executive leaders at Fortune 500 Companies. Leslie is committed to enhancing her local community and co-created and launched The Makers Place™ with her husband. As the regions first coworking space with onsite childcare, this innovative multi-use space supports parents who need a professional workspace along with flexible childcare options. She also currently works as the Director and Site Supervisor of Mini Makers™ Preschool. Leslie has also served locally on the leadership team for TEDxSacramento as the Event Coordinator and volunteered as a coach for emerging female leaders through The Women's Impact Alliance (formerly The Coaching Fellowship). As a two-time UCLA alumna, Leslie graduated with her Bachelor’s in Mass Communications (B.A.) and a Master's of Education (M.Ed.). She is also trained as a Certified Professional Co-Active Coach (CPCC) through The Co-Active Training Institute, international leaders in Coach Training and Leadership Development. Before becoming a Professional Coach, Leslie worked at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign where she taught leadership and diversity classes as well as ran a campus-wide Leadership Certificate Program for over 500 students, faculty, and staff members. She also has worked professionally in residential life and academic research at UCLA and in Public Affairs at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory under the U.S. Department of Energy. Leslie loves to travel and explore new places and has visited over 30 countries, including living abroad in the Middle East for a year where she volunteered at local schools in Amman, Jordan with her husband. She is an avid artist and creative who also enjoys karaoke, cooking ethnic food, supporting local coffee shops, and practicing yoga. Leslie is a novice pickleball player and an expert bargain shopper! She lives in Northern California with her husband and three young children, and travels internationally for coaching, organizational trainings, and retreat facilitation.