“To start, I need to build awareness.”
Who hasn’t said that about polluting less? It seems the standard starting point. On the contrary, it’s the standard delay tactic.
In a world where environmental issues are front page news and everyone sees the pollution that they create, claiming a goal of awareness more often delays action. You’re already aware. Plenty aware.
Action creates awareness more than awareness creates action.
Beth shows personal leadership—accountability, responsibility, openness, honesty, and more—in revealing that someone who is aware, when she chooses to act, reaches whole new levels of awareness.
I believe most people delay action because they anticipate how much awareness of themselves they know action will create. They’ll realize they could have acted long before and will feel bad about it.
She got hit over the head with how much more she depends on plastic than she expected. She didn’t hide from it. Unlike most people, instead of giving up, she used the opportunity to grow, to try to live by values that she thought she was but wasn’t. Thinking, planning, and trying to build awareness without acting is like standing still in comparison.
Yes, it makes us feel bad to live with our values in conflict with our values. We can try to cover up those feelings by ignoring the conflict. It doesn’t make it go away. That conflict manifests as anxiety, anger, shame, guilt, and other emotions we don’t like. Instead of changing, we cover up, blame others, and point fingers. Anything but changing.
The route out of feeling bad is to face and overcome the internal conflict creating those feelings. Other people and the world don’t create internal conflict. We do when we value one thing and do another.
Few people face such challenges, fewer still among renowned leaders, fewer still publicly, fewer still keep at it and find ways to use the challenge to recharge them.