As a kid I grew up in Plymouth, MN but our family ended up going to a Church in a neighboring town of Golden Valley. Church was never at the top of my list of things to do on a weekend. There was school, homework, and activities that crowded the week, and finally a weekend rolled around and it was off to Church. Damn…. It was tolerable and everyone was nice but it was the Weekend!!! I’m sure I had some more important weekend type stuff that was waiting for me! Shortly thereafter, my parents found out about church Youth Group and decided it would be good for me. Another Church activity? Come on… It was a group of adult lead, Jr. and Sr. Highschoolers that got together for events, volunteering, and just fun times. Turns out it was one of the best things that could have happened to me and I still have some pretty close friends from that era.
The culmination of Youth Group was always our summer service project creatively titled “Work Camp.” It’s where a bunch of kids get on a well worn bus and road trip to some poor or depressed area to help people fix up their houses. On the surface – not an ideal Summer vacation. Invariably it was hot, humid, buggy, and our rent-a-bus always seemed eager for at least one in-trip break down. It was an experience that turned out to have a pretty large influence on the type of person I am today.
In addition to Work Camp there were also a million other volunteer events that ate up our year. Some were fun. Some were not. But the one constant for me was always how I felt pre-event. It was balancing “I just don’t wanna go” with the inevidable “hey where were you” type questions at Church the following week if I didn’t show. All in all it was good for me; you know, character building type stuff.
Some time later, I started to became aware of how I felt after volunteering. It was odd – I felt good. Really good. Sure I was tired and I just gave up a quarter of my weekend – but I was energized and just generally happy. I liked it. And so I became greedy about giving. I liked it and I wanted to do more. I was doing something good for someone I didn’t know, or would likely never meet – but… It felt really good!
Time went on and I went off to school, came back , got married, had a kid, got divorced, started my business and life just got busy. Think it happens to a lot of people. It took me a long time to realize it but – I did finally notice that I was missing the feeling I got from volunteering and I needed to get that back. Its a good type of greed/addiction. In my 42 years on the planet I’ve never heard someone say “Yaaaa… Jeff – your volunteering is really getting out of control and we’re concerned about you. Time to back off a little.”
Nope! Time to get greedy again!
Sooo… The Challenge:
A funny thing happens when you put pen to paper and then share it. The level of accountability goes way up – and for me that has always been a positive thing.
So I’ve got two goals I’d like your help with. Hold me accountable; ask me how its going, and even better join me!
- Give time: It’s easy – but it’s also easy to just put it off and “do it next time.” My daughter Maeve and I will be volunteering every month on a Saturday. Its such a small thing, but over time it can have a big impact. I’ll be blogging and posting pictures on the when and where of each place, event, etc. Would be great for those of you who are local to join us! For those of you who live in other states – join along in spirit or better yet, volunteer in your community! Please let me know if you would like to join.
- Give money: For me giving of time is always more rewarding than money. However – the money part is essential and I’m continually amazed by how far charities can stretch a dollar. Many of you know that I started my own Headhunting firm a few years ago; Insitu Search. It’s a simple business: Clients pay me search fees for finding and hiring top level talent they have difficulty recruiting themselves. I have goals for myself and for my business. One goal for my business in 2016 is to be able to donate one of my Search fees, on behalf of my clients, to a charity. This would be professionally rewarding for me and something I’d like to do every year going forward. 2016 sounds like a great time to start!
There it is. So simple, but so easy to forget to do.
Travel safe this holiday week and enjoy time with friends and family. And in this time of Thanks and Giving – don’t forget to be greedy and allow yourself an abundance of happiness – you’ll thank me later!