“We are only as blind as we want to be” – Maya Angelou

“We are only as blind as we want to be” – Maya Angelou

In a world filled with uncertainty – political uncertainty, personal uncertainty, career uncertainty – it can sometimes be tough to see the “forest through the trees.” We are often paralyzed by the magnitude of the work to be done, the people who need our help and the overflowing to-do lists we’ve built; and while it is tempting in these moments to do nothing, because we don’t know where to start, ignoring these responsibilities doesn’t seem like a helpful solution either.

I recently had the opportunity to attend an event, hosted by two inspiring women at the Movement Lab in Baltimore. During this event, we talked about many of the wrong-doings in our world, but since most of us have grown up in an environment where we have access to basic needs like food, shelter, friends, family, and freedoms – we take these things for granted and have the privilege to choose to do nothing. But in the powerful words of Maya Angelou, “we are only as blind as we want to be.”

Taking inaction really is a conscious action we choose during those moments of overwhelming uncertainty or discomfort. I share this experience not to make us feel guilty, but as a call to action. We have so much more power and potential to inspire change and to take a stand than we give ourselves credit for, and sometimes not knowing where to start, what to say, or how to help can push us toward that comfort zone of inaction.

At Gundalow, we’re always talking about fueling our ambitions, but this also includes fueling the ambitions of others. I was reminded of the importance of taking action again earlier this week when Gundalow founder (and friend), Dana Sicko, had the Gundalow Gang over for a summer cookout – she was telling a story of when something happened to one of her employees and she went into “mama bear” mode, and took a stand to protect her employee and make her feel valued. In that moment, taking inaction probably would have been easier, but she chose to stand up for what she believed in.

So this week, I wanted to reflect on this important lesson from the strong and brave women in my life – and use it as a call to action for all of us to take a stand and start using our power for good. Here are some ways to take the first step:

  • Organize a Love Flash Mob. Together Rising is just one of many ways to take a stand. This woman-run, non-profit is focused on people who see suffering, want to make a difference, but don’t know where to start. Love Flash Mobs are initiatives where thousands of people donate small amounts (capped at $25) to make giving accessible to everyone.
  • Donate unwanted items to charity. You’ve heard the saying “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure” – before taking unwanted cars, furniture, clothes or housewares to the dump, look for a charity in your area. Organizations like The Purple Heart, The National Kidney Foundation, and The Salvation Army even offer donation pick-up services.  
  • Give your time. Time is money – and sometimes your time is one of the most valuable gifts you can give. Look for afterschool programs that need volunteers in your area, serve meals at a homeless shelter or gather a group for a trash clean-up. Make it count by looking for volunteer opportunities where you can share your passion or skills with others. Not sure where to start? Check out Volunteer Match to find opportunities that align with your values in your area.
  • Take a stand. Hear someone make an inappropriate comment? Say something! There’s always going to be a time and place to take the high road, but the bystander effect is real – and if you see something that is wrong or cruel, trust your values and be part of positive change by speaking up.

  • How can you overcome your fears and be brave enough to see the power of taking action? Share your stories with us so you can inspire others to fuel ambitions in their community!

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