Some things can be measured easily. When there are numerical values involved it is simple to compare. Like the size of your bank balance today compared to last week, you can tell the difference just by looking at it.
But measuring someone’s personal growth for example, when the indicators are not as tangible, and it requires some sort of gut feel, can be a little difficult.
It’s the same situation when we measure people’s journey out of poverty. Opportunity International provides small loans to mothers living in poverty and we measure the impact that has on the women and their family over time. The amount of money they earn is one indicator that can show they are leaving poverty behind, but there are so many other elements, like nutrition, sanitation, education, access to information and how hopeful they feel.
Some of this can be measured numerically, and some can’t. Not all elements improve at the same rate or at the same time, so how do you measure the impact?
Often it comes down to the individual. When they recognise they have the ability to make decisions on their own behalf, decisions that can change the lives of them and their families, this shows a level of empowerment which usually means that other elements are improving as well.
People are complex and cannot be measured by numerical values alone to discover what growth is happening.
How are you empowering those around you?
Often people will ask me what the best way is to raise money for their good cause.
I’ve been working with not-for-profits for 20 years and have seen countless numbers of fundraisers – some which have raised hundreds of thousands of dollars and others which raised less than one hundred.
Whilst there is no secret to success, there are two things which are very helpful when holding an event of fundraiser.
Firstly, be persistent. Persistence is the outworking of passion. If you are passionate about something then you will be persistent in what you do. Just because you have asked someone to attend or donate or sign a petition once, it doesn’t mean that they are aware or fully understand what you are trying to do.
Secondly, be very clear with what you are asking. If you want someone to attend an event, tell them that is what you want them to do. If you want them to donate, make sure they know that, and how they can do that. If you want someone to sign a petition, make sure they know how and where and why.
When you are persistent and clear, it invites people to enter in and participate in what you are trying to achieve. When they say yes, they know what they are saying yes to, or if they say no, it is an educated no which is worthy of respect and allows you to move on to the next person.
It can be overwhelming. The reality of all the need in the world can be too much for us at times to know where to start, and we can find ourselves frozen in inaction, not knowing what to do.
I have always been encouraged by the story of David as he encountered Goliath. You might know it well. At a time when God’s people were overcome by the size of the enemy in front of them, God found them a hero. A kid from the farm who had no discernible attributes that would bring victory on the battlefield. There was nothing conventional about David and the way that he approached the giant that everyone else was afraid of. The armour didn’t fit, his background didn’t fit and more surprisingly, his level of faith didn’t fit that of the experienced soldiers around him.
He approached the situation with an understanding that the God he served was so much bigger than the giant problem before him. And so he stepped up – and won the battle.
If ever we need a remedy to inaction, this is it. If we can shift our focus from the problem in front of us, no matter how big it seems, to the God we serve that is the change of perspective required which can allow us to take the first step and leave inaction behind.
How do you measure potential?
How can you take something as it is and create an educated measurement of what it could be?
It seems almost impossible and I sense that we tend to err on the side of caution when we do this. To be honest most of our thinking around what could be in the future comes from what has happened in the past.
We drastically underestimate what we are capable of.
We drastically underestimate what those around us are capable of.
Is it possible that what we can achieve, the difference we can make and the impact we can have on others is being held back by fear?
Right in the middle of Ephesians, the author Paul, implores his readers to cast aside their ideas of what they think life should be like and begin to dream about what could be through the strength of God who’s ‘mighty power is at work within us’ and is able to ‘accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think’.
So what are you capable of?
OR perhaps a more practical question – what would you would do at work, in your relationships, in any area of life right now if you weren’t afraid.
That’s the first step to glimpsing what your potential is.
What do you consider to be the worlds greatest resource. There is much debate about the value of certain items – would it be oil, gold, iron ore, lithium perhaps, what about water, air and sunshine? Ice cream? All seem to be pretty important, some more than others but which is the greatest resource available to us?
I don’t think it’s any of these. For me, it has to be people. We are told that there are now nearly 8 billion people on the planet. That is almost 8 billion resources, but more than that, individuals that carry with them such great value and incredible capacity. With 10% of the global population still living in extreme poverty then that is at least 10% that are not being able to reach their full, God given potential. When that happens, not only do the individuals miss out, but the rest of the world misses out on their creativity, ideas and ingenuity.
There is a question that haunts me.
“What if the cure to cancer was trapped in the mind of a child who hasn’t received an education yet?”
To me that talks about potential, of what is possible yet not accessible because not everyone is able to make their contribution. The sad thing is that there is so much that we can do to facilitate that and it starts with small actions. Little things that will go a long way to empowering those living in poverty.
We have some difficult issues as a world, but if we could get the most out of every person, I have no doubt we could overcome all of them.