August is the month to mentally gear up for the fall. All the wheels are turning for school and work activities and commitments. I remember my days at Oak Hill Elementary as a parent, and those first few weeks of school when everyone bombarded you with volunteer opportunities. In my rookie years I took the challenge on with a vengeance and was the first to sign up for as much as I could possibly fit in to each 24-hour period. In part, I wanted to be actively engaged in the school so I could keep a bird’s eye view on what was going on with our kiddos and see firsthand how the school was run. But then as I was participating in the numerous activities, I realized I was making some really good friends who were also volunteering; sleeves pulled up, ready to jump in and help where needed.
With my penchant for volunteering, at times I was beginning to feel that I may be overextending myself at the expense of my professional life. However, as my career in real estate revved up, I noticed the clients I worked with are the same people and families I volunteered with at school, at church, or in the neighborhood. They could see I am a hard worker and willing to help out where needed. The balance is still a juggling act between family and work life, but I subscribe to the mantra that I am, in this order, wife-mother-realtor-volunteer.
I grew up in a family with a “can do” attitude, and hope that our family carries on that tradition. We are forever changing what inspires or drives us to want to help out where needed. I think a really big impact on me occurred several years ago, when a friend’s partner died at a young age. I didn’t know his partner that well, but I wanted to pay my respect to my friend. In his eulogy, the impactful message that plays repeatedly in my brainis “Just show up.” My friend’s partner accomplished quite a few things in a short amount of time, in large part because he just showed up. In the realm of volunteering, just showing up is imperative. It’s often easy to convince yourself that you’re just too busy and tell yourself “…I’ll just write a check…”. Contributing financially to a cause is great, but sometimes, it’s also important to JUST SHOW UP and lend a hand. We all have so much we can accomplish and learn from one another when we work TOGETHER and get in there to help where needed.
Next time a worthy volunteer opportunity comes your way, show up and give the gift of your time and talent. Try looking at the overwhelming volunteer lists presented in the fall at schools, neighborhood and churches as golden opportunities. Whether it’s for a few minutes a week, or once a month, get out there and give the gift of volunteering. You will learn things about yourself in the process, and accomplish things you didn’t know you were capable of, and usually meet people that could very easily become lifelong friends.