Living Intentionally: 5 ways to align your habits with your values
As a member of Impact Hub Seattle, you are not only engaging with a community driven by social impact, but are also supporting a janitorial staff of Congo refugees as well as farmers in South America. Social impact is so often discussed as a grand goal, yet can be achieved through simple, everyday choices. Making a difference is not just limited to volunteering, protesting, and donating, but also how you consume and the language you use.
Inspired by our individual experiences at the Impact Hub, three of our summer interns, set out for a week of intentionality. The guidelines were simple: Make 5 behavioral changes that would result in positive social or environmental impact.
To kick off the series, meet Morgan Grimm, our Brand Strategy Intern!
Before my week of intentionality, I met with Laura Clise, the founder of The Intentionalist, an inclusive guide and platform highlighting small businesses and their diversity. With an easy search, you can find woman-owned, minority-owned and more diverse businesses near you. Laura shared that buying locally allows our communities to remain diverse and goes farther for the small businesses than for major corporations. The majority of my intentional choices were inspired by my conversation with Laura and based off the idea of being a conscious consumer.
1. buy DiverseLaura suggested I check out Seattle Best Tea, so later that afternoon I walked over to check it out. Owners, Lydia Lin and Joe Hsu, offer a wide variety of high mountain teas. While not typically a Boba fan, I thoroughly enjoyed my Peach Boba Tea. Switching my typical Starbucks tea for Seattle Best took barely any effort and I walked away knowing my business there was allowing for economic inclusion. Check out the Intentionalist for other minority-owned small businesses near you.
2. Buy Local
Rather than buying the next book on my reading list from Amazon, I headed down to my local bookstore. Before the days of two day delivery, I cherished my time in the bookstore. It was a luxury to explore new stories and chat with the shopkeepers. To my surprise, the book I was looking for was about the same on Amazon. What I lost in the two dollars difference, I gained in a beautiful experience. Take a minute to think about the places you can buy locally. You will not only be supporting your community, but also have a refreshing experience.
3. Language Matters
In the planning for a women’s club at my university, I realized our language was exclusive. We are now in the process of updating the form to say: “We encourage anyone who identifies with womanhood — cis, trans, third gender — to apply.” Inclusion requires being explicit. Researchers at Harvard found that gender-exclusive language ostracizes women and reduces motivation in professional environments. More broadly speaking, psychologists believe non-gendered language reduces gender stereotyping and discrimination. Inclusive language seeks to address all with dignity and respect. Breaking your habits by being aware of and using an individual’s pronouns or by incorporating non-gendered language (i.g.: firefighter vs fireman) is a strong starting point to a more inclusive world.
4. Dress Sustainably
Tiffany Haddish has worn the same dress to four Hollywood events-- functions in which you rarely see the same item twice. Although no movie premiere, I attended a wedding this week wearing a old dress. If you come from a place of privilege where you can choose to rewear clothing or buy new, take the more sustainable route. The Wall Street Journal cites that the average person only wears 20% of their wardrobe. This is particularly problematic because the fashion industry ranks high on the list of the world largest sources of pollution. Join Tiffany Haddish, Kate Middleton and Keira Knightley, by choosing to get full use out of your clothing. Not only are you rejecting dated societal pressures, but also taking a more sustainable approach to fashion.
5. Support Businesses Whose Mission Aligns With Your Own Values
A friend of mine wanted to meet for lunch so I suggested we go to FareStart Restaurant. FareStart offers job training to help people overcome the barriers of employment. 90% of their adult graduates have good jobs within 90 days of finishing the program. Businesses are increasingly hiring those who would typically face incredible obstacles. The Giving Keys hires people transitioning out of homelessness. ModPizza is dedicated to hiring second chance employees. Get lunch (or jewelry) while also helping fight homelessness.
These are five changes that can get the more impact out of everyday actions. Remember social impact is not an all or nothing game. Do what you can, where you can.
Thanks Morgan - you were a fantastic contributor to the Impact Hub's team this summer! You can keep up with Morgan by connecting with her on LinkedIn.