For the past couple weeks I have been posting sections of chapter six of my book, A Day of Hope: Leading Volunteers to Make a Difference in Your Community. I wrote the book to teach people who lead volunteers to do good work in your community.
This is section 11 and is a chance for you, my blog readers, to enjoy a section of the book for free.
ENJOY IT AND SOAK IT IN
When A Day of Hope is coming to a close, there are a couple of things I always try to do to make sure I enjoy the final moments and soak in all that we have accomplished. It took me a long time to realize it is ok to enjoy the work we are doing and to just let it soak in. There are four simple steps that allow me to do this.
- Step back – Step back from all the commotion happening. I get by myself without doing any work at all.
- Watch – Watch what’s happening. I watch volunteers as they are doing the great work.
- Listen – Listen to what’s happening. I listen to what people are saying about how happy and filled with joy they are to be serving and helping people.
- Feel – Feel the sense of enjoyment and satisfaction. I feel the joy from doing my part in this good work. I’ve worked hard, endured pain, and sacrificed many things, and now it’s time to feel the good feelings I’ve worked so hard for.
Soak in the feeling that you receive from doing A Day of Hope. You did an amazing thing to help serve people who were less fortunate than you, who might have made poor decisions that have put them in the situation they are in but now wish they hadn’t. The greatest gift we can give to someone is the gift of who we are and what we are capable of. And you gave your strengths and abilities to help them.
Soaking in the feeling of helping people for A Day of Hope is awesome! It’s an inner peace that you have after you know you’ve done your best and now you’re seeing the results of that hard work.
Some of the greatest enjoyment comes for me from watching the families receive their baskets. When you see a family receive a basket of food for Thanksgiving when they probably wouldn’t have eaten anything special, it’s a special feeling like no other. If feels so good to have known you played a small part in making their Thanksgiving special and a small part in marking their life forever.
Another of the great pleasures you receive as the leader of A Day of Hope is that you get to hear all the amazing stories from the volunteers. They come back with their eyes lit up like flashlights as they tell you stories from delivering food to the families. It’s almost as satisfying to watch the volunteers’ lives change through the process as it is to watch the clients. They’ve seen parts of our city that they’ve never been to before and want to make a difference. They begin to volunteer more often during other times of the year at other organizations. They learn that there are people out there who are less fortunate than them.
The greatest sense of enjoyment for me is developing and training volunteers who’ve become leaders and community organizers due to their work with A Day of Hope. Because of what they’ve done with A Day of Hope, what they’ve learned, and the skills they’ve developed, they’re a new person. They have a sense of purpose, mission, and drive to make a difference in the community.
One of my most special moments came last year when one of the co-leaders I work with very closely, Sarah Moore, told me that she had learned a lot from watching me lead A Day of Hope over the past five years. She said she learned how to be persistent, make things happen, run a meeting, and many other things. I had never really thought of myself as teaching the people around me to be better leaders. I just led to the best of my ability in efforts to serve people a Thanksgiving meal. And in the process, I taught Sarah and probably many others what it looks like to be an effective leader.
Your enjoyment won’t just end at Thanksgiving. I still see people who know we fed them a basket years ago. They are still thankful to this day. They sincerely appreciate the work we did to make a difference for their Thanksgiving and their life.
Question: How do you enjoy the success that you have had? How do you "enjoy it and soak it in?"