Category Archives: Volunteer

Step Back and Regroup

Step Back and RegroupAs I was sitting in the dentist’s chair recently getting a root canal (aren’t you jealous of all the early morning fun I’m having?) and he started working on drilling the tooth, my mouth wasn’t completely numb. The second jump made him stop, give me more numbing medicine, and give my mouth a few minutes to numb up. I was thinking how that is just like life. Sometimes the things we start to do don’t work the way we want them to. When that happens, we need to take a step back and regroup. Try a new way of doing things. Go a different route. Bring in different people. 

Too often people think their way is the only way to do something. That is never correct. This happens a lot in organizations and businesses. Just because something is done the way it’s always been done, that doesn’t mean it’s the only way to do it. Someone else may have a much different—and probably better—way to do it. They have traveled a very different path than you have, they have different life experiences than you do, they have learned differently than you have. Usually, as long as the thing gets done, does it REALLY matter HOW it is done? Or is it sufficient that it IS done?

Let people experiment. Things don’t always need to be done the same way. And if their way doesn’t work? Step back and regroup. Then you can either do it your way (without the “I told you so”) or try a totally different way.

Be open, be kind, and be productive. Those things will all happen if you are willing to let others do the job they have agreed to do without you hovering or micromanaging them. Just step back, take a breath, and regroup.


Be The Change

Now that the elections are over, they’re not really over. The results seem to have put a huge divide in America. From both sides! This isn’t a political be-the-change-youpost . . . and I won’t allow comments on politics. My point here is that if you are happy with the results, you should volunteer with the groups that support what makes you happy. If you’re not happy with the results, volunteer with the groups that support what you wish had happened or what you think will make a difference.

In other words, BE. THE. CHANGE. You cannot sit on your ass and complain about the way things are or how you wish they were. Get off your butt and BE. THE. CHANGE. Join a group with what matters most to you as their focus. You don’t have to live there, you just need to spend enough time to make a difference. BE. THE. CHANGE.

Just do something. Activism is what has made this country great. If our forefathers had just sat back and complained, we wouldn’t have the freedoms we have now. As I’ve said before, the high you get from volunteering is totally worth the time you take away from Facebook stalking or Netflix bingewatching.

Do you care most about women’s rights? There are hundreds of organizations dedicated to human rights. Are you interested in gay rights? Again there are all kinds of organizations dedicated to gay rights. Are you worried about the homeless or the hungry? There are food banks or shelters or food lines all looking for volunteers. Are you interested in a specific political party? They all need help too. Find the issue that really touches your heart and BE. THE. CHANGE. Anything you can do will make a difference. It may not be something that changes the world right now, but it will have a ripple effect. The difference that you make will entice others to make a difference which will entice others which will entice others. Just like the old shampoo commercial (I am 60 so I remember this!) where they tell two people and they tell two people and so on and so on. It just takes one ripple to make a difference. BE. THE. CHANGE.


Live And Love With Your Whole Heart


Live and Love With Your Whole HeartI saw this on Facebook today:

”I think midlife is when the universe gently places her hands upon your shoulders, pulls you close, and whispers in your ear: ‘I’m not screwing around. It’s time. All of this pretending and performing – these coping mechanisms that you’ve developed to protect yourself from feeling inadequate and getting hurt – has to go.
Your armor is preventing you from growing into your gifts. I understand that you needed these protections when you were small. I understand that you believed your armor could help you secure all of the things you needed to feel worthy of love and belonging, but you’re still searching and you’re more lost than ever.

Time is growing short. There are unexplored adventures ahead of you. You can’t live the rest of your life worried about what other people think. You were born worthy of love and belonging. Courage and daring are coursing through you. You were made to live and love with your whole heart. It’s time to show up and be seen.”’
~ Brené Brown

Most days I don’t read things on Facebook not posted by good friends or family that are that long, but today I needed to read it. It really does sum up what happened to me as I approached 40. That was when this lifelong people pleaser decided that if people didn’t like me, that was their problem, not mine. I was done doing things to please other people and was going to work on pleasing me.

I have to admit that I still do a lot of things to please other people, but now they are people that matter and are an important part of my life. I also have to admit that I still slip into those habits from time to time. Always wanting to be the one to “save the day,” always wanting to be the one people can count on, always being the reliable one, always being the first one with my hand up when someone is looking for help.

I heard something interesting the other day about volunteering. If you are always the one people can count on to fill an empty position and you always say “yes” because you think no one else will do it and it has to get done, you need to stop. You could be depriving someone who hasn’t yet garnered the courage to step forward from doing so. Someone who is eager to do that job, someone who will find pleasure in doing those tasks, someone who might have the time to devote to it, someone who just might be better at it than you will be because they actual WANT to do it and you are just doing it because you think people need you to. By all means, if you want to volunteer, do it. But only if you have the time and desire to do the kind of job necessary for that position. If you are only doing it because someone asked you to because no one else has volunteered or because you think it will make you (or your resume) look good, think long and hard about whether you can do the kind of work the job demands or if you will be doing everyone a disservice by just accepting the position with your head and not your heart.

I have just recently figured this out. I am always humbled when people seek me out to ask me to volunteer for specific things. But the feeling that I get when I don’t do the kind of job those things deserve is not a good one. So I have cut back. Instead of being on a committee that meets once a month and stresses me out because work conflicts and I don’t take the time to do the things that need to get done in my “free” time, I volunteer for the day of the event. One day. Actually just a few hours (early ones to be sure, but just a few). It has made a huge difference in my feeling of giving because I’m giving them a much better version of myself than they were getting before. Someone else stepped in to do the job I was doing on the committee and I’m sure made huge strides for the event.

My gifts are many but the time I have available is very limited. I am trying to keep that in mind when those well-intentioned people are seeking me out. It is working much better so far. Driving to the event telling myself that I swear it is the last time I will volunteer is not the right attitude to have when you are volunteering. Driving to the event telling myself that I am making a difference with the gift of a few hours of my time and knowing in my heart that I will do it again next year is priceless.

I am trying to be done worrying about what other people think and am moving on to the many unexplored adventures that I already have planned (and many, many more that aren’t planned yet). This crazy life truly is made to be lived and loved with your whole heart, not a distracted, overcommitted, guilty heart. So let’s make a pact to get our whole heart in gear and live and love with that sucker for as long as it is still beating. Are you in?