Passion, Purpose and Perspective
One of my favourite quotes is this one from Jane Goodall –
“You cannot get through a single day without having an impact on the world around you. What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.”
That sentiment sums up everything I’m passionate about. The idea that everyone has the ability to have a positive impact on the world around them is something I really believe in, and in 2014 I realised just how passionate I am about making that happen. It’s why I applied to be a Coordinating Ambassador and it’s why I care about what I do. Attending One Young World in October was a significant part of that journey. It gave me a newfound sense of purpose, and a newfound belief in the extent of my ability to change the world. This year I’m hoping to translate the inspiration of One Young World in to action, and to empower others to do the same.
I co-chair an organisation called Law for Change Wellington, a non-profit aimed at empowering young New Zealanders to use their legal skills in the public interest. I studied law at university but have chosen not to practice, so it might seem strange that I run an organisation focussed on the legal community. But I co-founded the organisation out of passion for enabling people to use their skills to make a positive impact. This is something I remain hugely passionate about, and something I would like to dedicate the rest of my life to. Last year I realised just how much I care about that cause.
I also found a sense of purpose. This year I’ll be working on a new project aimed at empowering young changemakers to have a greater impact, by providing them with the skills, connections and ideas to help them work efficiently, collaboratively, and with integrity. This was a project I had started working on before One Young World, but since One Young World it has grown in scale significantly. I’m now trying to design a programme which supports young changemakers all over the world. It’s a huge challenge, but that excites me. The confidence to attempt to create something with global impact only exists for me because of my One Young World experience.
2014 wasn’t perfect. I found a sense of purpose but I often lacked a sense of peace, and there was bad news along with the good. In December my Dad was diagnosed with kidney cancer. He’s since had surgery to have the kidney removed and now has an extremely high chance of recovery, but the experience scared me. The week of the diagnosis I was offered a contract extension at work as well as being offered a position in a global youth leadership fellowship, but Dad’s news made me realise how insignificant those other things felt in comparison to his recovery. Again I was grateful for a sense of perspective.
Below is the conclusion to a blog post I wrote three days in to One Young World.
“This week has been a beautiful mix of solemnity and irreverence. Just a few hours after hearing those powerful, impactful stories, we all spent the evening together at the Guinness storehouse. We laughed and yelled and danced and drank, and those moments will be memorable as well. It sounds a little contradictory, and maybe it is, but I think our ability to laugh together over a pint at the end of the day can be just as important as our ability to share the stories of our hopes and fears. I’m very glad I came here.”
May your year be a mix of solemnity and irreverence. May you find passion, purpose and perspective, as I did in 2014. May you find a sense of peace, which I sometimes felt I lacked last year. May you realise that you realise that you have the ability to positively impact the world around you, and that what you do makes a difference. May 2015 be your best year yet. Happy new year everyone.
Luke Fitzmaurice (@lukefitznz)
One Young World Coordinating Ambassador, Oceania Region