What NOT to Do When Trying to Make a Change

Posted by Deanna Singh | Sep 25, 2018 9:45:00 AM

The point of my new book Purposeful Hustle is to equip you with some of the tools, insights and steps that help you realize the power you have within you to make a positive impact with your work. However, when thinking about how to create the change you want to see in the world, it’s sometimes helpful to think about what NOT to do. This is my advice.


  • Assume you know what’s best or what other people want. Despite your passion and your best intentions, thinking you know how to best respond to a situation or social issue when you haven’t worked with or learned from those most deeply engaged with or affected by the situation is not the way a Purposeful Hustler approaches their work. Use your passion as a motivator to learn more and to embed yourself in communities where you can build meaningful relationships and learn how to work alongside those who are already doing this work and who are most directly affected by it.

  • Be too proud to ask for help. No one changes the world alone. Even though our culture tends to put heroic figures on pedestals, any significant social change work happened because of the coordinated efforts of a lot of people. We need each other’s insights, skills, talents, and support to be as successful as possible in this work. In order to make the impact you’d like to see or better live within your purpose, don’t hesitate to turn to experts, practitioners, and other people who may know more than you or be able to assist you with advice or even resources.

  • Not listen to all sides. When trying to make a change, talk to everyone you can find who has stake in the issue. Odds are, you have blind spots in your perspective and experience, and there are nuances you should be learning from other people. There are a lot of ways to look at an issue, and when you want to make a change, it’s a good idea to start from as well-rounded of a viewpoint as possible.

  • Overplan. Though it is necessary to learn from others and gain some clarity on what kind of work would be best, too many aspiring changemakers get caught up in the planning phase, get overwhelmed by logistics and limitations, and never take the action steps they were so passionate about taking. This is such a missed opportunity and lost potential. Don’t let it happen to you! Purposeful Hustlers value knowledge but are comfortable learning as they go. They see a plan as a guide that provides direction but are flexible enough to change it as circumstances unfold.

  • Not test your solution ideas on your audience. Though you’re learning as you go, make sure you’re consulting with people who would ideally be impacted by your work. Is your idea working? Constantly evaluate and evolve as necessary. This is part of learning as you go!

  • Give up. Let your failures teach you, not discourage you. See them as an opportunity to learn how to do your work better, to re-strategize and to ultimately live out your purpose in a better, more effective way. It’s healthy to reflect on the emotions of failure, but use those cuts to propel you forward in your mission! Keep your end goal in sight. Lastly, if you fail in a way that’s difficult to bounce back from, admit it, learn from it, own it, and move on.

  • Let your fears and doubts rule your decisions. A Purposeful Hustler is not afraid to take necessary risks. List out your fears and come up with ideas for how to mitigate the consequences of them if they come true. Just looking at your list of fears head on will make them feel smaller. Let your purpose, not your fears, motivate your choices.

  • Move without empathy. Your purpose work should be rooted in your empathy and compassion for other people or for the environment, not your own ego. Be sure to check your intentions frequently. If the bottom line answer to why you’re doing something is unclear and not rooted in empathy and solidarity, then maybe you should reconsider the steps you are taking.

You got this y’all. I’m so excited to walk alongside you as you step forward in your purpose and change the world as a Purposeful Hustler!

Topics: Purpose, Skills, Impact, Social Change, Passion, Initiative

Written by Deanna Singh

Deanna Singh is a business consultant, speaker, and podcaster who is internationally recognized for her work in leadership, diversity, equity, and inclusion. Deanna helps her clients create more equitable and inclusive work environments and engage more authentically within their internal and external communities. A gifted communicator, she is a champion for marginalized communities through her work. Her podcast, Uplifting Impact with a focus on looking at the intersection of Leadership and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, focuses on solutions and is directed at people who want to break the status quo. Singh earned her Bachelor of Arts in Urban Studies from Fordham University, a Juris Doctorate from Georgetown University, a Master’s in Business Administration from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and certification in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion from Cornell University.

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