How do you define giving? For most people it's about providing something for someone else. When you give to a charity, you answer a call to action - maybe it's a need for funds to help build a school in Africa or a call for your volunteer time to prepare healthy food at a breakfast program. Whatever the action is, there is a need that is being filled. The age old saying "it's always better to give than to receive" speaks to the feeling of doing good or watching the joy of others as a result of your actions. That's all true, but there is more to giving than just that. Even though you may think of giving as a selfless act, I believe that giving can do something for you as well - over and above the feeling of doing good. And you know what? That's ok. The act of giving doesn't only help others, it can help you too. Here are three awesome things that I have discovered personally through giving and also witnessed in tons of other people:
1. Giving can help you discover your passion.
Giving inspired me to make a career change when I was in a field that I didn't have any passion for. I was really passionate about reality TV - I know, that might sound silly, but I loved it! I was completely bored at work and in the evenings I was a couch potato. My life was pretty much void of passion. Then one day, myself and a couple friends while watching the Amazing Race thought "why can't we create something like this ourselves?" and ended up creating an amazing race fundraiser which has made a HUGE impact on a local charity. But also, it had a huge impact on me. I took something that I loved and turned it into something that could do good. Anyone can do this with any of their passions - even something as silly as a TV show. I was having way more fun in life and eventually made a career change. For you, this shift doesn't have to be so dramatic. Ever notice how some people can have trouble balancing all of life's demands but somehow others with the same demands find the right volunteer opportunity and are able to make time for it. It's because working on something you are truly passionate about will help change all other aspects of your life. Think about the person who's working their 9-5 and is exhausted all the time vs the person who often hears "how do you do it all?" Having a way to be involved in something that lights a fire inside of you will help you feel better about your day job and better all aspects of your life.
2. Giving can help you heal.
Giving can be very therapeutic. Several years ago, I decided to make a significant donation that helped me close a chapter in my life. Again, giving did a lot of good for a charity but it also did a lot for me. The act of giving turned negative energy into something positive. It can help you release and forgive. I've also seen others who went through personal challenges and were battling depression who had a feeling of purpose and inspiration once they started giving. Someone else I know wasn't feeling self confidence or feeling valued in her marriage and discovered all that she could accomplish and inspire in others once she took a leadership role at a school program. Think about a personal journey that you need to take, chances are giving can be a path to get you there.
3. People who give are awesome. Meeting them will change your life.
I've found getting involved in volunteerism and community events has introduced me to some of the coolest people I have ever met. I used to joke when I was a young professional that I wanted to go to the bar to meet friends because I was finding it difficult to meet people. I've heard that a lot from others. People who are community minded and give can bring an incredible amount of positivity into your life. You share the common interest of the volunteer or community activity but the relationships can evolve past the interaction of the giving itself. Some of my closest friends are those that I met through volunteerism. Expand your world to let those people in and you will open a whole new social circle.
Next time when you are giving, I give you permission to not only thing of others, think about yourself. Think about your ultimate passion and find it through giving. Think about something that would provide you an opportunity to heal. The ultimate giving experience will connect you to a community, to others and to yourself. Focus on something you believe in. Focus on something that you will find fun. If you do this you can change the world and change yourself.
Connect with Glenna Banda: https://about.me/glenna_banda
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