This week, we’ve been talking about how to invest in yourself and, thus, become the strongest leader you can be. Whether it’s regularly pursuing continuing education or keeping up with the latest literature that’s pertinent to your company’s success, taking time to invest in yourself is not only beneficial to you—it is the cornerstone to your company’s achievement.
One component to think about in your pursuit of self-improvement and investment is volunteer work. Some of you may be rolling your eyes, but many businessmen and women stand behind the notion that giving back (whether to your community or to a village on the other side of the world) makes people feel like there’s a larger purpose to their lives and inspires them in everything they do. And in a market where the incentives for hitting sales goals and making it “big” fiscally are driven by bonuses, raises, and perks, it’s helpful to note that those who invest in making a better world tend to also invest more in their workplace. Most individuals who volunteer, derive a great sense of satisfaction and pride from their participation—feelings that translate back to happiness on the job.
When I was in college, I myself embarked upon two volunteer expeditions–mission trips through my college’s “campus ministries” group. I’d never interacted with the group previously, so I was a little nervous about what to expect (possibly even more nervous about that than traveling to rural Mexico and Port au Prince, Haiti), but the experience turned out to be tremendously positive.
My stay in these countries was limited by one week each time, but those two weeks left me with a lasting sense of humility and inspiration that I still carry with me today. Despite the fact that the people we met and saw in those two places were living in poverty beyond the likes of anything I’d ever seen, they were also some of the kindest, most thoughtful people I’ve ever met. In both countries, my group’s primary goal was to help out in orphanages. In Haiti, it was a baby orphanage run by a family who also ran a Christian day camp and helped build houses for families in need. In Mexico, the orphanage where we stayed specialized in taking in kids with mental handicaps. While there were many children there who were not handicapped, a husband and wife duo were on-hand 365 days a year, 24 hours a day to aid about 14 “kids” (ages 6-24) with extreme mental disabilities. While the wife looked after the kids during the day, the husband took care of them at night.
In both cases, getting involved with the children and their caretakers was heartbreaking. How could so many beautiful kids not have what I take for granted all the time: two capable and loving parents? Being able to spend time with them—play with them, eat with them, teach them our games and learn their games—was one of the best things that has ever happened to me. I, myself, was blessed just by being able to interact with those children and adults who are far more courageous and selfless than myself.
When I arrived back to school—on both occasions—I noticed a change in myself. I’d been humbled by my experience, and the sense to do even better at my studies and take advantage of my good luck and opportunities was broadened. None of us are responsible for where we’re born or the lives we receive, but interacting with those less-fortunate can inspire us to be fully invested in the work we do—if only because we feel so blessed.
Here at The Newsletter Pro, we are the proud supporters of many charities and causes. We support missionaries in Ukraine and donate funds to many of our clients’ philanthropes. We also talk to numerous clients every day who love giving back, whether it’s handing out free treatment through Dentistry from the Heart, or raising money for wells in third-world countries on behalf of Neverthirst. Like us, these CEOs know that the kind of self-fulfilment that can be gained from becoming more involved in the community and the world is its own positive investment.
This month, as we encourage you to invest in yourself, we also urge you to invest in others. Give a little bit of yourself to a worthy cause, and your gift will be repaid a hundred times over.