Let’s face it workaholics, sometimes we can lose steam just like everyone else. We are the small business owners, non-profit leaders and corporate hotshots that change the face of what’s possible. But sometimes, we feel like our efforts are in vain, or our time would be better utilized doing other things. Whenever I get into a rut wondering why I left management consulting to advocate for financial literacy, I find renewed inspiration by serving the community.
This weekend, Amplify 4 Good held its first Goodie Hack in Atlanta for 2015. Amplify 4 Good is an Atlanta-based non-profit that raises basic need averages of underserved communities by amplifying the capacity and funding readiness of non-profits and minority entrepreneurs. As a Member of the Board, I helped build awareness for this event by inviting my entire civic-minded network to engage at the Goodie Hack, We attracted over 425 volunteers to participate in a 24 hour hackathon at Google Atlanta, to find a solution for the following non-profits:
- Atlanta Regional Commission
- Center for Civil and Human Rights
- Partnership for Southern Equity
- Usher’s New Look
- Young Entrepreneurs of Atlanta
- Community Foundation for Financial Literacy
- Chop Art
- Wings For Kids
Each team had 24 hours to come up with a beta working solution and provide their results in five minutes during the pitch competition. The results were astonishing, from finding solutions on how to teach children how to invest, providing means to track and provide financial support to homeless youth artists, to managing volunteers nationwide, improving the coordination of service providers and government agencies that serve those in crisis, each of which has the power to radically provide more accountable and efficient solutions to organizations with limited resources and budgets. All the teams deserved standing ovations, not only because they were able to solve a major problem in a limited competitive time frame, but the fact that they volunteered their intellectual capacity, creativity, innovation and ingenuity to help the organizations that are addressing the gap between government and the for-profit sector. Every participant found something in themselves that was compelled to serve, and serve in a way that would have a scalable multiplicative effect on society. I was filled with inspiration, awe and gratitude that an organization in which I serve on the board of has the ability to make events like this happen.
Non-profit board service has been instilled into my sense of duty from a young age. I recall my mother serving on all types of boards, executive teams, and committees at non-profit organizations ranging including the Children’s Hospital, Police Triad, AARP, Delta Sigma Theta, Jack N Jill Women’s Incorporated, all while teaching at a high school where 70 percent of students qualified for government assistance. Based on this, I’ve always known that achievement extends beyond professional commitments or obligations to helping the community succeed. #BestAdvice, serving makes your life and community better.
There are several ways that you can serve your community:
- Volunteer to help a civic organization
- Mentor children, students and anyone whose life would improve by learning your skillset
- Volunteer at food shelters
- Raise money for your favorite cause or organization
- Donate goods in support of a charitable drive
- Donate your time and knowledge
After serving others, I always regain my inspiration to continue on in my stated path, and you can too. Sometimes stepping out of your zone is all that you need to find the renewed innovation, strength and drive, to push towards your pie in the sky goal. And remember that another upside to serving while reaching your personal goals is that you get all the perks of making the community and society better while conquering personal and professional goals at the same time.
The most surprising thing that you will find is that when you invest yourself in a case and serve a community, you’re serving yourself. Even though this is not your primary effort, the fact is that, through service to others, you’re providing one of the most valuable resources to yourself. Servant leadership will not only lead to a richer life but also provide inspiration to continuously reignite your own passion. #BestAdvice, serve to stay inspired.