A Case Study Named Connor
I first met Connor when the company he worked for hired me to help grow their social media accounts. Connor was their creative guy, and by our second conversation, I realized he was ridiculously talented.
Graphic design, video editing, branding, and marketing were his sweet spots, and he oozed brilliance for them all. His was the kind of talent that might feel obnoxious, except Connor also had this infectiously positive and encouraging outlook. Every single email from him started with classic Connor lines like “I hope you’re having a killer day” or “Hey, hope your morning is rad so far.” He exuded joy and a “sincerely happy to be here” posture that has become all too rare in many companies. Connor is the kind of person I would hire first and then find a job for because he’s just that good.
Connor was clearly a happy guy—and for good reason. Mid- twenties, serious girlfriend, a job he loved so much it didn’t seem like work, and even time on many weekends to fit in plenty of fly fishing and golfing with his best friend—his dad. It truly felt like Connor had it all.
But one day we were on a call together, and our conversation turned to the subject of human trafficking and the humanitarian work that my wife and I had been doing in Ghana for more than a decade. We’d recently rescued a group of trafficked children and returned them to their families, and I was telling Connor what that meant for those kids and their families, who were now experiencing freedom and new life for the first time. Connor was blown away by the story and made a comment to the effect of
“Man, that’s gotta be so fulfilling.” It was, of course, and still is all these years later, but something about the way Connor said it struck a familiar chord. I’d heard this comment in various forms now for, well, almost a decade. What Connor said was “That must be so fulfilling,” but what Connor was thinking was I would love to make an impact like that.
We will do good when we make the conscious decision to do good—and that can happen wherever we are by using whatever resources we have right now.
The good news for Connor, and for you, is that you can. And you will. That’s exactly why I wrote this book.
My life’s mission is to empower every single person I meet to do more good in the world. The greatest lie we tell ourselves is that we will do more good when [fill in the blank with your next big milestone] happens. This is well-intentioned but simply not true. We will do good when we make the conscious decision to do good—and that can happen wherever we are by using whatever resources we have right now.
As we explore this topic, I will uncover three surprising truths for you throughout the following chapters:
Most of us believe we have to choose between financial security or making a positive difference in the world. The truth is both are possible, and doing more good will actually make us better at our jobs.
Most of us believe we can’t accomplish more good because we have limited time and money. The truth is we’re hin- dered not by time or money but by a lack of confidence that fools us into believing we have nothing to offer.
Most of us think we are incapable of driving massive impact for good. The truth is we are just one amplification away from improving the lives of thousands of people.
So let’s rewind back to my conversation with Connor to see what this looks like in real life. Connor firmly believed all three of the aforementioned falsehoods. He needed to be convinced of the three truths I was suggesting were available to him. I didn’t yet have this book to hand him, of course, so instead Connor and I did a miniature version of what I call my “Everyday Activist Makeover.” Our conversation looked something like this:
Me: Connor, if you were going to do good right now, what do you think that would look like?
Connor: I could make a small donation and probably volunteer a couple of times a year somewhere, serving meals, helping at the animal shelter, or something
Me: What if I told you that I could teach you how to choose your favorite cause and drive tens of thousands of dollars in donations to them, all while doing what you love most, never asking anyone for money, and in just 14 minutes a day?
Connor: I would say, “Yes, please.”
So that’s exactly what we did. Remember that Connor’s very favorite thing, which also happens to be his best gift, is in the realm of graphic design, video editing, branding, and marketing. Connor does this every single day for an incredibly successful company, and he does it at an incredibly high level.
Do you know who needs graphic design, video editing, brand- ing, and marketing work? Pretty much every single charity in the world. The vast majority of nonprofits and charities run on shoestring budgets, which translates to a few passionate and big-hearted people wearing many different hats. Most of these organizations could never afford someone like Connor, but they didn’t have to. Connor was willing to work for free if he believed he could make a real difference.
This distinction is critical because Connor, like most success- ful people, is a high achiever. Redesigning a home page that gets 12 unique visitors a month? Meh. Not going to move the needle for him. Creating a full marketing plan with clever messaging, cohesive branding, matching assets for social media, and even a well-polished teaser video to introduce it all to thousands of donors? Now we have Connor’s attention, which is good news because the items I just described would be worth tens of thou- sands of dollars (or more) to a charity with a good reputation, doing good work, and with a need to get an important message out to their donors.
Connor thought the most he could give a charity was a few hundred dollars and maybe a day of his time. Because of that, he was hardly motivated to do anything. But he could not have been more wrong. The opportunity for him to do good and drive mas- sive positive growth and change along the way was right in front of him. He just had to make the choice to start doing good where he was and with what he had—which is exactly what Connor chose to do.
Now the astute reader might be wondering, “Didn’t you say 14 minutes a day? How in the world is Connor going to do all that in just 14 minutes a day?” Well, I’m glad you asked. You see, 14 minutes a day is exactly 1 percent of our day.
Let’s do the math: 24 hours × 60 minutes / 100 = 14.4 minutes a day.
If Connor stacked up those 14 minutes a day for one single month, he would have about 7 hours to give to the tasks outlined previously. But since this is a larger project that Connor really believes in, he’ll probably be willing to work on it a little longer— say 6 months. If we multiply 7 hours a month times 6 months, this would give Connor 42 hours to help create this marketing plan that will pay back 100 times what he could have donated himself. All while doing what he loves the most—work that doesn’t even feel like work.
This is the epitome of starting where you are with what you have. It shows the power of leveraging your very best gifts and talents for the sake of others by donating just 1 percent of your day.
And this is precisely how we can collectively join together to give back a billion hours of good.
Connor is a unique guy, but this part of his story is not unique. There are millions more just like him. People like you and people like me. We are young, old, middle-aged, marketers, salespeople, executives, assistants, VPs, artists, teachers, mechanics, stay- at-home moms, computer programmers, managers, retirees, real- tors, and a hundred more job titles. Many of us have come to believe that our respective job titles and the roles and responsi- bilities that come with them restrict us from doing more good, but the opposite is actually true. Our unique and varied experiences and job roles do not hold us back but, rather, catapult us forward in using our most exceptional gifts and talents to drive meaning- ful outcomes.
Can you imagine a world where business consultants help local school districts with teacher turnover issues, where chefs and restaurant owners work together to end food scarcity, where supply chain and logistics personnel create solutions for distri- bution efficiencies after natural disasters, and where innovators use their creativity to help crack some of the most crushing social challenges facing our communities?
Our unique and varied experiences and job roles do not hold us back but, rather, catapult us forward in using our most exceptional gifts and talents to drive meaningful outcomes.
I can imagine this world. I want to live in it. I want to help create it. I want to bring it to life in a way that unleashes a global wave of good. And I believe this can be done—but I need your help. And I think you need this as much as the world needs it from you.
Throughout the following chapters. I’m going to show you how to open yourself up to causes you care about (compassion), how to overcome your fears (courage), and how to take those passions and skills that already make you awesome every day and apply them in innovative ways to solve old problems in new ways (creativity). We will then turn your newfound compassion, cour- age, and creativity into real and meaningful change. All in just 14 minutes a day.
Connor wanted to make an impact. You do too. He has been incredibly successful in his efforts. And so will you. Let’s get started.