At the conclusion of the school year, energy is high and spirits are lifted at the promise of a new season of barbeques, picnics, swimming in the ocean, camping trips, and summer blockbusters. While people can see the summer as an escape from the doldrums of the rest of the year, this time can also be used strategically, by maintaining one’s sense of social responsibility and creating value for the causes that we believe in the most.

Our last assignment for Strategic Corporate Social Responsibility was to create our own Personal Social Responsibility Strategy. This introspective, reflective assignment took me by surprise for it made me realize that my current PSR actions, core competencies and life objectives were extremeley misaligned. I realized that one of my core life objectives – to live an active and healthy lifestyle and to inspire others to do the same – was not supported by my core competencies of organization, planning and a love of running races and triathlons, nor was it supported by my current actions – studying, group project meetings, and putting anything before exercise and before myself.

I did a 180 degree turn and decided that I needed to be strategic and align my core competencies, current actions and life goals. This summer, I am pursuing projects with event organizers to put on races that contribute to social causes. In particular, I am focused on benefitting women’s health and girl’s development organizations. The idea of bringing lots of people together to swim/bike/run for a larger cause while also forming a community of racers is thrilling, for I know that this is something I truly, in my heart, want to do, and I know that I will be achieving a larger impact than I have been achieving with my random acts of kindness here and there.

So, my challenge to you is, what is your Personal Social Responsibility Strategy? Are your current actions, core competencies and life objectives in alignment? If not, what needs to change? Is it sustainable? How can you make a positive impact in the world every day?

To hold myself accountabe, I will revisit my plan often to remind myself of the spectacular day when I made a 180 degree turn. Take the time to create your own strategy. I’d be curious to see what you come up with.

—Grace Samala

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