Let’s start with some numbers. 1 in every 5 adults in America will experience a mental illness in any given year. 26% of homeless adults staying in shelters live with a serious mental illness. 8.4% of adults have a substance use disorder. With numbers like these, it is safe to say that you likely have a friend or family member that will need your help this year.
What is more impactful to me is that I likely encounter people every day who could use some extra support, encouragement, or hope when it comes to things like mental health, homelessness, or addiction. The truth is that all too often, each and every day, I blow the opportunities that I have to improve someone’s life. The opportunity to help is there, often right in front of me, but something gets in the way. I am confident that I am not the only one who feels this way.
The problem is we don’t walk around with name tags on that say, “Hi, my name is Ryan, I am struggling with depression right now. Can you help?” or “Hi, my name is Jennifer, my daughter is addicted to drugs and I haven’t seen her in days. I feel sadness beyond measure, alone, and I don’t know what to do.” Since we are not wearing these name tags, and never will, we miss out on key opportunities to help every day. We are out of touch to the needs around us.
As I said in my first post, most people want to have a positive impact in their community, and we all have great potential to do this. If I asked you right now to give yourself a score from 1 to 10 on how well you leverage the opportunities you are given each day to have a positive impact, how would you rate yourself? Let’s call this your “Community Impact Score”. Write that score down. Our goal should be to continuously increase this score. What I am hoping to bring to light this week is that our shortfalls in creating positive impact is not due to a shortage of opportunity or a lack of need. I feel the real gap that we face in reaching our full potential is caused by three things:
- Lack of awareness
- Fear of engagement
- Underestimating our impact
In the next few weeks we will unpack each of these 3 issues with the hopes that we all can increase our Community Impact Score for the benefit of our communities.