This week we celebrate the 111th birthday of Dr. Seuss (Theodor Seuss Geisel). Best known for children’s books, Dr. Seuss’ writing produced inspirational and loveable quotes that people still relate to today. Whether you consider yourself continuing your journey, beginning your 2nd chapter or simply contemplating What’s Next, quotes from childhood can stir the essence of your spirit and move you to make the world a better place.
As we ask others to comment on organizational participation, frame the conversation in the words of Dr. Seuss.
“To the world you may be one person, but to one person you may be the world.”
“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.”
“Step with great care and great tact. Remember life is a balancing act.”
Unfortunately we could not speak directly with Dr. Seuss (wouldn’t that have been amazing?). However, we reached out to three Kansas Citians actively involved in nonprofits and professionally associations. Here are their responses to this month’s “experts weigh in” question:
“What is the most important thing professionals 45 and older need to know about participating in professional associations and/or non-profit organizations?”
As you decide where to volunteer your time, talent and treasure:
- Above all, follow your heart and take into account what really matters to you.
- Consider the skills and experience you bring to the table. Where might you fit in the best?
- Take care not to over-commit. It can ultimately exhaust you, frustrate your family, shortchange the organization you are trying to help, and even adversely affect your job.
Dr. Wayne Dyer talks about the morning and afternoon of our lives. The morning is ego-driven, meaning that it is dominated by ambition and accumulation. The afternoon is purpose driven, such that our motivator is the meaning behind what we do, and we ask whether what we do has a purpose in improving the world around us and reflecting the purpose of our lives. Furthermore, Dr. Dyer says that what is true in the morning is false by the afternoon.
Those of us who are 45 and older, are moving into the afternoon of their lives. We have the second half of our lives to change course and focus on something bigger than ourselves.
Some of us have had great material success in the morning of our lives and feel compelled to dive deeper into meaning in the afternoon. Some of us have not had the type of material success that we wished, but in the afternoon we find that the attraction to that has dwindled, and we are compelled by meaning rather than acquisition.
Volunteering for a nonprofit is a great way to repurpose the experience that we attained in the morning of our lives while we were chasing ambition to a cause greater than our ego-dominated self that reflects the higher self we are and always have been. We now know who we really are and where our passions send us.
So, pick a cause that speaks to your higher self, roll up your sleeves, and get to work. There is so much to do!
Having served on the boards of nonprofits and professional associations, as well as working full-time for a large nonprofit organization, I began volunteering in college. The journey has been fulfilling, frustrating and a great personal development journey.
My biggest take-away after more than 35 years of board leadership is:
“…while I don’t always agree with my fellow board members, all of us are passionate about the organization and all of us believe our points of view serve the best interests of our constituents.”
Knowing that all volunteers work tirelessly toward one common goal, brings about compromise and collaboration. Learning to act as one, not matter how many different approaches contribute to decision-making, has given me a perspective and respect for others that I wouldn’t have acquired without my board experience.