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Wellbeing / Business values

Sending the elevator back down

I love the saying “first world problems”. I use it to describe my supposed woes, which currently include dodgy internet, overwhelm from busy-ness and running out of PG Tips tea.

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The saying is useful, but a little glib. I am starting to realise this is the year I need to put my time where my mouth is and actively begin volunteering.

On the way I hope to get some genuine perspective on how fortunate I am. Perspective matters as it fosters gratitude, which is a key component of happiness. As is the feeling you’re contributing to something greater than yourself.

Volunteering won’t be all about me feeling blessed by comparison, or good about myself, or appeasing guilt – although no doubt there’ll be an element of each of those things. Really, it’s more about a larger moral imperative – a duty, the ‘right thing to do’, unfashionable as the idea seems.

Kevin Spacey, of all people, articulates this perfectly: “I feel it’s a responsibility for anyone who breaks through a certain ceiling to send the elevator back down and give others a helpful lift.”

"I’m no ceiling buster, let alone a movie star, but I’ve done well for myself and feel a genuine need to pay my dues."

I’m no ceiling buster, let alone a movie star, but I’ve done well for myself and feel a genuine need to pay my dues.

So I’ve convinced myself of the why. Here’s how I’m going to go about it.

Want more articles like this? Check out the business values section.

Be more generous with the sharing of my knowledge by more actively participating within online forums, including Flying Solo’s.

Take this further by becoming someone’s mentor. One of the applicants for the role of Editor expressed an interest in being a mentee… I will chase her up.

Sit on a committee. As a soloist I am cynical about this. Isn’t it the place where ideas are taken down a cul-de-sac and strangled? But my daughter’s school needs P&C members. I’m going to do it.

Volunteer to spend time with the terminally ill and their families. This has interested me for years but I’ve been too afraid to pursue it. In 2013, that’s going to change.

I will be sure to report back in months to come. Nothing like a bit of accountability to galvanise myself into action.

Anyone who hears me complaining about not having time has my full permission to give me a slap. Apparently I have time to stuff about on Facebook and watch The Newsroom.

It is absolutely time for me to pull my head from my butt and give something back.

How’s your do-good -ometer? I’m all ears to inspiring stories… and intentions.

Sam Leader

is a former director of Flying Solo and the co-author of Flying Solo - How to go it alone in business.

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