An overdue thank you

In 2010, I met two people.  I imagine that they would support me in calling them ordinary people.. And yet, they ended up changing the way I thought about my life. In fact, they continue to make me check myself every time they pop up on my newsfeed! Because they’re my definition of ‘do-ers’. There’s nothing more… I don’t know the word.. invigorating? than when I see what INCREDIBLE things they’ve just gotten out and DONE, in the times that I’m sitting at home thinking about what I could do. I returned to my usual life after that pivotal conference week in 2010 and straight away the things that I’d been putting off because “no one has been there before and it’s all a bit unknown,” I did. And I did. And year after year I use them as my inspiration, as I watch the the things that they do become more and MORE incredible.

In the past month, the equivalent of over 968 years of scholarships for girls in Sierra Leone has been raised for One Girl through Do It In A Dress. Thank you, Chantelle and Dave.

Dave and Chantelle in Sierra Leone

And yes, this was absolutely a community effort. There’s nothing more incredible than seeing that fundraiser tally tick higher and higher with each minute because there are more than 500 do-ers wearing school dresses and asking families, friends and strangers to sponsor them. “It was definitely an amazing team affair, so I can’t take the credit!” True to form there, Chantelle. But you’ve earnt at least some of the credit: you and Dave made it happen. And even if it was through a tiny seed that looked nothing like this when it was planted back in April 2009 when you both got the crazy idea of changing the world, if that hadn’t have happened, who knows what would have. Would I be a do-er…? Chantelle’s right that they can’t take all of the credit, but it’s important to stop to think about the impact that you have through others’ actions as well as your own. When I tried this, I realised that compared to last year, I may not have raised as much money in my fundraising campaign as last year (thank you thank you, again to all of my supporters over the past three years!), but when you look at the money raised from me and the people that apparently I “inspired” (!) from last year, it surpasses it.

This is incredible, to me, on three counts.

1. I am amazed at how inspiring others to be do-ers can have a stronger effect than trying to do it all yourself.. I must keep that in mind. Invest time in people.

2. It’s not just a stronger effect, it’s a multiplying effect. Teagan, I have never been more proud of you than when you signed up for such an influential volunteer position with One Girl. You purposefully put your hand up to be influential, to invest time in people. Pariss, in one year alone you have inspired more than $1000 in fundraising through inspiring others to get involved. So, I appreciate you saying that you got your inspiration from me, but take a step back and look at what an effect YOU are making! Emily. You’re just incredible.

QUT Women in Engineering Club being nothing short of amazing.

Which brings me to point 3. This all seems really really ridiculous to me, because I started this post by telling you how inspired I was by Dave and Chantelle, right. Turns out, somehow, I am someone’s Dave and Chantelle. And, I mean.. there are just no words that I have for this. An accident, I guess.

How does it happen, though, that these people become do-ers? I can’t speak for the others, but so far it seems like it’s been because they looked at themselves and went “hey, I can be a doer”. And I guess that happened to me once too in 2010, after looking at those other do-ers, etc. But it’s definitely not always like that. Because once in September 2011, I was a watcher, or whatever the opposite to do-er is. Chantelle and Dave were setting up Do It In A Dress for One Girl. “Good on ya, guys, you’re such champions!” And that was about as far as it went, from my side of things. And then:

“One Girl is looking for some enthusiastic Brisbane based girls / guys who are interested in being featured in MX as part of our Do It In A Dress campaign! – you need to a) be willing to wear a school dress in a national newspaper to promote the importance of educating girls b) be willing to become a part of the Do It In A Dress campaign – if you’re interested please reply, we’d love to have you onboard :)”

Hmm.. I like being in newspapers. Sign me up! We’ll worry about the dress part later…

So, two things had to happen here. There had to be something in it for me (this surprised me when I realised it, looking back..), and the main thing was: I had to be asked. Such a tiny action, that turned into something I certainly didn’t see coming: thanks to your help, my dress campaign (not to mention the aforementioneds!) has raised $7500 over three years – 27 girls we’ve sent back to school…. just because she asked. If Chantelle never had’ve asked, I probably would never have done anything. “Keep up the great work, guys!” and that’d be it. But instead, a domino was flicked, and influence was spread.

So, from all of this, I guess.. thank you to everyone who has supported DIIAD over these years. Thank you for changing lives.

Thank you, Chantelle and Dave, for giving so many people an opportunity to make a difference.

.. But, still, I guess it does sort of make me wonder.. after considering how comfortable I was with just watching until someone took the tiniest action to ask me to get involved.. what other things could I have done, if only someone had’ve asked? What am I waiting now for someone to ask me to do..?

What are you not doing just because someone hasn’t asked?!


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