While you crawl into your cozy bed tonight, over 50,000 people around the world are voluntarily foregoing that option and instead sleeping outside. The Big Sleepout is an effort to raise awareness of homelessness and global displacement by hosting events in 60 cities throughout the world. In the United States, people will be sleeping in Times Square and the Rose Bowl. The aim is to raise $50 million as well as to increase awareness of homelessness and advocate for compassionate policies and solutions.

Kudos to the organizers for choosing a night in December for this event. The forecast calls for 27 degrees in NYC – a far cry from a pleasant night of “camping”. I am sure the event will make a lasting impression on those who participate, and hopefully make them passionate advocates for the issue after they return to their own warm covers.

It’s one thing to talk about your cause and seek support but another to help people personally experience the discomfort even for a brief while. Think about how you can make your cause tangible and real to those whose favor you curry – even if it means making people suffer to get the point.

About the Author leadership dots by dr. beth triplett

I'm the chief connector at leadership dots where I serve as "the string" for individuals and organizations. Like stringing pearls together to make a necklace, "being the string" is an intentional way of thinking and behaving – making linkages between things that otherwise appear random or unconnected – whether that be supervising a staff, completing a dissertation or advancing a project in the workplace. I share daily leadership dots on my blog to provide examples of “the string” in action. I use the string philosophy through coaching, consulting and teaching to help others build capacity in themselves and their organizations. I craft analogies and metaphors that help people comprehend complex topics and understand their role in the system. My favorite work involves helping those new to supervision or newly promoted supervisors build confidence and learn the skills necessary to effectively lead their team.

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