Giving Back to the Community: How to Start
Many people want to give back in a way that is meaningful to them personally. Without the act of giving, we may find comfort in the acquisition of material possessions. However, true satisfaction comes when people have a positive effect on the things they feel passionately about.
With the nearly 7 billion people on the planet, passions and feelings differ from person to person. Some find meaning in nature and animals, while others may have a heart for education or people in general. The problem with giving back is that many people are missing two things: an understanding of their passion and exactly how to start giving back. The solution is to plan out some time for yourself. It does not have to be an extended amount of time. Maybe skip a television program that you could do without, or sit down during a lunch and plan out the following:
Find Your Passion - Discover what it is that truly inspires you. Think about everything around you - people, animals, schools, the homeless, the environment, laws, the elderly, etc.- and find out what has the greatest impact on your feelings and emotions.
Open Your Mind - Remove limitations and borders. Think about having all of the resources in the world time, money, people, skills, etc.- for the thing you care about the most. What would you do to make things better? What problems exist that need fulfilling? What is already being done and could be improved? More importantly, how would feel after the change has already happened, knowing that you were part of something so great and driven entirely by you? The point is not to think too much, but to let the answers come to you. If you have found something that you are truly passionate about, feelings and emotions will help to bring you the answers to these questions. Having a goal will help to give meaning to your giving efforts. This meaning will help draw the necessary energy to go out and put your thoughts to action.
Your List - Now that you can see the change, what are willing to do to make it happen? Put together a list of all of your baby steps. Think about what you would do if someone asked you for ten minutes of your time, an hour of your time, maybe even an afternoon's worth. The items on this list should be practical and fit into your lifestyle. The VERY FIRST thing on your list should be YOUR LIST. You are already thinking about the change and the necessary steps to make it happen. That sounds like a fantastic way to start. Put it on your list, and when you're done cross it off.
Keep in mind other people that may be interested in helping you: friends, groups, charities, etc. Chances are there are already many people who are involved in some way or another. You could use their help and they sure could use yours. You will find plenty of like-minded individuals that will have an immediate connection with you, helping to add to the meaning and energy of your efforts.
Find The Time - Now we can do something about it. Work on the list whenever you can. If there are time-wasters in your life that don't bring you fulfillment, try phasing them out. Television, computers, games, foods, etc. are all things that are taken in excess without giving back much. Your list will have plenty of things to occupy your time. If there are tasks on your list that are too big, spend some time breaking them down into more easily achievable goals. Don't forget about other people and groups who want to work with you.
Mark Your Achievements - The best way to push yourself is to think about your end goal and how it will change you and the community around you. Mark your accomplishments in one way or another, even if it simply means checking off your list. Each step completed will help push you towards your end goal, and if you find great and simple ways to do things along the way, spread the word and let others know how they too can accomplish things the way you have. One of the best ways to give back is to make giving back easier for others.