While the current public health and economic crises pose massive challenges, the disruptions caused by them also offer opportunities for individuals, organizations, and companies to maximize their engagement and global impact.
In this article I will outline three strategies which, when combined, will help improve and increase your impact. Each of these strategies is guided by the principle of “Comparative Advantage”. Borrowed from international trade theory, this principle states that a country should focus on producing the products which, comparatively, it is best at producing, and then trade this good for other products. This can be applied to your personal and professional growth as well.
The idea is to focus on the skill which you are comparatively good at, and to then combine that skill with others to achieve the maximum global impact.
I shall explore this concept in more detail throughout each of the strategies.
1. Unify your Skills and Passions
When evaluating your comparative advantage, it can be helpful to think about how your skills and passions intersect. To do this, start by creating a two-column chart. Title the left column “Skills” and the right column “Passions”. In the “Skills” column, write down your three best skills. This may be writing, coding, graphic design, or something completely different. Whatever it may be, write it down. Then, write down the three topics or areas which you are the most passionate about, such as health, education, or the environment.
Making this list can help you better visualize what your skills and passions are. When you have done this, think about how you can connect the dots between the skills and the passions.
This process is equally applicable if you are running a company or organization, and does not have to be merely confined to the work of an individual. As an example, for a long time I struggled to combine my passions (politics and economics) with my skills (writing), until I discovered academic research!
Another important point to make within this strategy is to keep seeking opportunities and growing your skills. No skill is ever stagnant and it is vital that you keep learning and growing it, and through this you may change how you connect your skills and passions.
2. Raise Awareness
Once you have identified what your main skills are and how you can combine them to work towards your passions, the next step is to raise awareness for the issue that you are engaged in.
Although the COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted our lives, it has forced us to strengthen our digital presence and in many communities this offers organizations and activists the ability to reach out to larger groups of people through digital events. For instance, hosting debates, seminars, or informational videos about your focus-area can be a perfect tool for introducing people to your topic and making them engaged.
Other steps to raise awareness include op-eds, blog posts, and academic articles; podcasts, TikTok videos, and other multimedia tools; newsletters and physical mailers; and an engaging and up-to-date social media profile. Each of these methods will help keep your target audience engaged and will allow you to maximize your outreach.
Last, but certainly not least, is collaboration. Just as I mentioned in the introduction, by employing the concept of comparative advantage you will be able to focus on your skills while collaborating with others who have a different skill set. For example, you might be a terrific writer and communicator, but you are not as well-versed in visual design. By partnering with someone who is a capable visual designer you will be able to transform your writings and communications into high-quality visuals which will engage audiences in a different way.
Additionally, partnerships and collaboration are a necessary tool for innovation. While we all know a lot about certain topics, we always need to be pushed to think about problems or challenges in unique ways, and through this we can develop new solutions which we would not have been able to do without collaborating.
By employing each of these strategies – unifying your skills and passions, raising awareness, and collaborating – you will be able to maximize your global impact and transform the disruption of COVID-19 into a significant opportunity.
About the Author
Christian Neubacher is a Swedish-American teacher, researcher, and aspiring policymaker who is passionate about developing policies and private-sector solutions which can help further regional integration, transatlantic solidarity, and sustainable global development. With prior experience serving as the Deputy Executive Director of European Horizons, he strongly believes that youth can play an integral role in shaping the post-Pandemic future.
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