Do What You Can–What You Know How To Do

by Martina E. Faulkner, Founder of IOM

The past week has given us all reason to pause and reflect on what’s important.

What happens when there is a crisis? Whether it’s a natural disaster, a systemic issue, a personal event, or a global shockwave… our lives will always have some type of crisis to contend with. It’s the scale and level of personal impact that varies.

When I became a small business owner a few years ago, I realized that I would need to have a response in times of crisis. If an employee suddenly had a family emergency, there has to be a response, just as there needs to be a response for global and regional events. For me, the most important thing is that the response be helpful. It’s not helpful to share misinformation during global events. That response requires a thoughtful approach that includes reading and researching… or silence until that can be accomplished. Similarly, an employee in crisis requires just as much (if not more) thought and unique solution.

What I have found over the past three years is that if I allow myself to be led by my values, I will find the right response for the situation. It also simplifies the answer to the questions: What is the best thing to do? How can we help? For me, the answer will always be:

Do what you can—what you know how to do—to help others.

What you actually do will look different depending on the situation. More importantly, what you know how to do and what you can do may change over time. In fact, it almost always will. But when you allow yourself to be guided by your values, your actions will always follow suit… making your decisions easier.

Earlier today I had a conversation with a fellow creator online. We were discussing how hard it is to know what to share on social media during times of crisis. On the one hand, you don’t want to be silent (and appear uncaring). On the other hand, you want to be sure you are properly informed (and not contributing to the problem). Most importantly, you don’t want to engage in lip service – the act of saying something just to show you have and not actually meaning or understanding it (the worst offense, in my opinion). By the end of our conversation I texted her this: “…this has been a really good conversation, and now I remember that I know how to direct my social media team for this latest crisis.”

Even though I thought I had forgotten (hello limbic system takeover), I already knew how to direct my team because I/we are led by our values. At IOM, our values are: Service, Authenticity, Integrity, and Fun. We create work that is inspirational, educational, and/or entertaining. We do this for a reason: We want to create a better world for everyone.

There’s value in sharing meaningful work in the world. It gives people the breath, information, or retreat that they need to keep going in whatever they’re doing, or to make a change. While it may seem small, I think having little moments of inspiration on social media can really help someone. I know this from personal experience. So, in light of the current crisis in Europe, in addition to our team making personal donations or assisting with tangible efforts where we each can, we will continue to create good work in the world and share it… in the hope of creating a better world for everyone.

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