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Daily Leadership Thought #140 – Get Involved

May 23, 2011

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It’s much easier to identify problems than be part of the solution – get involved!

I am fortunate to sit on a few nonprofit boards focused on community issues.  It is a privilege to be asked to serve and strive to make a positive difference.  What you quickly notice when you interact in these circles is that you tend to see the same people.  I have a theory that less than 5% of the residents do most of the volunteer work in any given community.  Sadly, the rest of us are spectators and sometimes even critics of their hard (and often thankless) work.

Every one of us has a strength or talent we can share.   While fundraising is often necessary, volunteering is just as important.  Time is a precious resource we all equally share.   Just because you may not be able to make a big donation, it doesn’t mean your efforts aren’t needed or appreciated.   It never ceases to amaze me how much can be accomplished by the energy and efforts of a small group of dedicated people.  Often, these results are also achieved on a tight budget.

As I get older, I am getting less tolerant of people who complain about the status quo and do nothing to change it.  It’s like the sports fan who thinks they know more than the coach or players on the field but doesn’t have to play the game at this level (and never has).  It’s easy to criticize the efforts of others when you don’t have the stress of competing and performing yourself.   Things always look different from the armchair than the playing field.  For any support system to work, caring people need to get involved.

If you are unhappy with the way things are working in your community, I encourage you to get involved rather than just talk about it.  If you have a particular cause that you care deeply about then look for ways to advance the issue and supplement the work of other like-minded individuals.   You may even be able to make it a career – check out www.idealist.org. Run for political office and affect change through policy or legislation.  Our country was founded by a small group of already busy people who dedicated their time, talents, and often their own resources to the proposition that the world can change for the better.

Get involved!  We need you!