Throughout my entire I have been helping others. When I was in high school every spring break I went with a group from my hometown in California to Mexico and we built houses. The experience was amazing. The opportunity to help build a strangers home was a powerful example of freely giving to others. During those early years, I went on these trips because they were fun and I enjoyed helping others. As I grew up my life became more and more busy and I felt like I had less time to help others.
Anyone who has ever completed multiple degrees in college will tell you that it’s probably the most selfish time in your life. I know this from personal experience, I work a full time job, am launching a li-ion battery start-up and I am about two weeks away from completing my MBA. But I have to say that as I have grown older, I realize the value of stepping out of my “important” life and helping someone else.
This morning I stepped away from my school work and visited my 88 year old grandfather. He asked me to help him trim an apple tree. I was happy to help him, mostly because he is my best friend, but also because I know my life is better when I help others. It didn’t take that long and he was very happy to see me. This is what is important, connecting with people on a real level, and actually being present in the moment.
My last blog applied this principle to leadership and business; I mentioned that I had to “give it away to keep it.” Well today, it’s about stopping what I am doing to get outside of my thoughts and life and help someone else. It allows me to refocus my energies and actually makes me a more balanced person.
Since 2005 I have been the director of a local charity called the Big Reno Coat Drive. To date my team of volunteers and I have collected over 10,000 coats. I have maintained this commitment to my community for going on 10 years and the experience of helping others has added a lot of value to my life. It makes me grateful for what I have and less focused on what I think I should have.
The reality of the situation is when I am thinking about having to set aside something of utmost importance in my mind and help someone else, honestly it’s actually a struggle sometimes. My mind can make a million excuses why I don’t have time. Once I head downtown with a truck load of coats and hand them out to people who are cold and living on the streets, it shows me what is important in life. There is plenty of time to get my work done and there is also plenty of time to help others. A balanced life is a healthy life; it’s not always easy to maintain balance every day. But one way to get re-balanced quickly is to stop and help another human being, a family member, a friend or a stranger. I encourage you to try it, be aware of what is going on around you. You will see an opportunity to help others.