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Coach's Corner

Glad you've clicked through for some free advice on how to engage in courageous, compassionate service.

Please know that these articles (more will be posted) are based on the book Stick Your Neck Out: A Street-smart Guide to Creating Change in Your Community and Beyond. You can order the whole book, right now. Look in the left-hand column for more info.

#1 Motivation — How to Get in the Game and Stay There

Why get involved in trying to solve problems in your community or beyond? Why spend all that time and perhaps risk criticism, conflict and failure? Good questions.

The organization I work with—the Giraffe Heroes Project—honors people who stick their necks out for the common good. These “Giraffe Heroes” are men and women, young and old, from every ethnic and economic background, tackling every kind of public problem you can think of. As part of our work, we try learn as much as we can about what makes these remarkable people tick so we can share it with others.

The first question we ask them is about their motivation. Why do they do what they do? What provides the power, the commitment, the vision and the passion that keeps them going when the days are long and the work is hard?

This question of motivation is important, not just for Giraffes, but for you, for anybody, who wants to make a difference. When you’re motivated, you do your best work. When you’re not—you get something less.

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#2 Finding an Issue — Which Path is Yours?

Some time ago I went back for a reunion to the high school in Tacoma I graduated from. Nearly all my classmates were leading comfortable lives in business or the professions. They talked about their houses and their investments and how well their kids were doing in college. To be blunt, I was bored to death. Except by one man. I’ll call him Tom. He’d been the "slow one" in our class, the butt of jokes. But for 30 years he’d been directing a social service agency in the worst area of Tacoma and had just started a controversial needle exchange program. Tom was fascinating. He spoke about his work with addicts  with the charisma and energy and peace of mind of a person who had truly found his calling and answered it with everything he had.

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#3 Getting Started

You’ve found a problem you care enough about to get involved. Maybe it’s local or maybe it’s global, but whatever it is, you’re ready to get to work. Now what?

The first step is to do your homework. Yes that sounds boring—but I can’t tell you how many well-intentioned people I’ve seen fail because they jumped into action on their issue before learning enough to guide their steps wisely. You don’t need to become an expert at this point, but you do need to learn enough to know what you might be getting into. Here are key things to do:

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Be Giraffe

"If you are not happy with the way things are in your life, in your organization, in your family, in your country or in the world, maybe you can be a catalyst for making things better. Here are practical suggestions on how you can use your talents and ideas to help create the changes you desire."

—Giraffe Millard Fuller, Founder, Habitat for Humanity International

Stick Your Neck Out — A Street-Smart Guide to Creating Change in Your Community and Beyond

Filled with practical tips and inspiring examples of real people, this book provides the missing link between ideals and action.
Author John Graham draws on his own extensive experiences as an activist and negotiator, as well as on the experiences of many others who have brought about positive change.


graham.jpgThe Director of Giraffe Heroes International is former US diplomat John Graham. His website gives you free coaching tips, some amazing stories, and updates on his world-wide mentoring of new heroes. His speeches and workshops offer Giraffe spirit and know-how for your organization or conference.


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