At the time, I had just been to a presentation at the Entrepreneurs Organization conference where we heard from the founder of NGO – Wine to Water. He painted himself as a reluctant hero… called to action because he could not believe that more than 1 billion people on the planet do not have access to clean water. This was now his life’s work. It is a powerful feeling when you get to this point…when you find your purpose, engage it…you become unstoppable….when you are living what you love.
I listened and I pondered: how do we choose where we spend our energy, love and time? What is it that calls us to action to make the world a better place? I listened carefully between the lines… how and why did this man choose water?
Around this time I had received an email from someone imploring me to consider what my legacy would be as he outlined what he had chosen as his life’s work. I don’t think that there is a day where I don’t consider my role and how I can make the planet a better place for my children’s’ children. The reality is though that there are thousands of great causes… there are endless opportunities to be involved – and I am always trying to make sure that my message is consistent, and I do the best I can do with the time and energy I have. As I listened to the founder of Wine to Water I thought, what I really want to know is: ‘Why do we choose what we choose?’
I challenged myself (and others when I originally wrote this post to the following):
• Where does passion come from when there are so many causes –we need to look deeply and meditate what is it that truly calls us?
• Choose one thing and do it really well – focus delivers a greater outcome. (There are other great people working on many other issues). “What is the ‘one’ thing that I want to fix?” I asked myself. (I know the answer to this but it does not hurt to review it)
• That there is a great degree of happiness in one’s life when you feel that you are living for someone other than yourself. You achieve a great sense of purpose
• When you feel like you did make a difference and accomplish something, that you made a real and lasting contribution
• You are likely to be far more effective in your contribution when you can build lasting relationships based on friendship and shared values. To work side by side, not ‘telling one another’ how to live their life, to be culturally aware and sensitive.
No matter how passionate you are about your community contribution there are some days when you will struggle and at that point you must have people around you to remind you of the stand you made for yourself and the community.
Fundamentally we choose where we spend our time when we discover this it makes a life worth living… and of course there must be a balance because without the ‘means’ (i.e. finances) you cannot change the world.
I reflected on my choices for contribution since that time and I have reaffirmed my focus absolutely on community. Whilst I will support different causes from time to time depending on what knocks on my door step, I have (and continue to be) a long time supporter of the Cerebral Palsy Alliance and just last week had a meeting with the Partnerships Manager to discuss how I can help in 2016. With so many charities, NGO’s, community groups and exceptional causes I have to focus my energy…while considering how it aligns with my life’s work. I challenge you to this too…