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Helium Hand- How to balance work/life/volunteering
Q: So what is a helium hand?
A: Someone asks for a volunteer, and your hand just goes up, as if it has a balloon attached.
The Mister has joked that I don't know how to say no. He has even proceeded to ask me a round of questions that he knows I will say no to, to illustrate that I do know how to say no. and then ask why I didn't say no when asked. After a bit of reflection the answer is simple. I call in half Catholic Guilt (yes this is real) - when called upon, I don't want to let people down. and half me believing that I was called upon for a reason (though I am still wondering what the reason is for some of my past commitments)
Entering 2014, I worked to be purposeful in additional commitments I took on, while working to edit those things on my plate. As a result, I enter 2015 refreshed, and rededicated to my commitments.
Simply put sometimes in doing less, you will do more!
Do What You Love- these simple words are a guiding principal in my life. Thru work, and volunteering I strive to Do What I love. And I do so with the support of friends, family and co-workers. I am the person I am today in part due to these people. Many of these same people have handed me said balloon, while others have talked me into popping it....
I am blessed to have an amazing job I LOVE, work for an AMAZING company, and work with/for some truly INSPIRING people. Let me tell you a little bit about my work life. I have been with the same company for the last 15 years (it will be 16 years in just 10 days) I work for a company that values work/life balance and understands that it is important to work to live, not live to work.
One may ask if I am still challenged, and driven after 16 years, and that answer is a undeniable YES! Leadership continues to push my team and I to be the best version of us, and the best store we can be. And inturn I continue to grow with my team, peers, and company.
It is often said that a team is only as strong as its weakest link- this may hold true, but I prefer to focus on members strengths. I like to think of team more of a twisted rope. A rope that is woven/twisted together- complete with various members strengths and weaknesses, and together we form a tight knit rope- one that can hold together and accomplish anything. I am blessed to be part of a team that capitalizes on each others strands of strengths- one that is comfortable reaching out to ask for assistance.
So yes- in reflecting I do often have a helium hand at work. I raise my hand to take on a project that may help me grow as a leader, I stay late to develop a team member, or have a coaching conversation. I take on an additional project/position to grow the team, or align with a company initiative.I have a hellium hand to strengthen my individual and team rope
As I work on my performance review for last year, I am thankful for the time to reflect, the time to analyze and the time to strategize. But one things holds true- and that is you will continue to see my hand held high in the new year
It is not what we have in our life, but who we have in our life that matters most. This statement is one I could not agree with more, and is one of the many reasons I have stayed involved with Alpha Chi Omega Women's Fraternity over the past fifteen years. Giving back to an organization who has given so much to so many is a no brainier for me. I am passionate about the organization. An organization that recognizes the importance of developing tomorrows female leaders, an organization that fights to bring awareness to Domestic Violence prevention, and advocates for victims, An organization that is striving to change the conversation on so many levels, and an organization that remains relevant to over 200,000+ initaited members across the coutnry.
Over the years my helium hand has gotten quite a work out when called upon to serve the organization.
VP Fraternity Relations, Homecoming chair, collegiate chapter officer, chapter advisor, long distance advisory board, alumnae chapter member, virtual alumnae chapter member, alumnae chapter president, alumnae chapter panhellenic delegate, National Panhellnic Conference Volunteer, REPRESENT faciliator, ASTP facilitator, Recruitment specialist, IMPACT facilitator, AFA member, AFA awards committee member, Panhellenic Recruitment Task force member, Panhellenic Exploratory Expansion Task force Memeber, Convention Minutes Committee, Convention Teller, and the list goes on..
I list the previous only to share that I have learned that Alpha Chi Omega will be omni present for its members and volunteers. The organization will serve and call upon you to serve. There are times that members lives will align with them giving back, and there are times the organization will give back. Thus when asked and when I am able I do give back. Over the years, I have also determined that giving back surrounded by friends is more than just giving back. It is creating life long memories. I could not do half of what I have been able to accomplish with out my mentors, friends and sisters. (To the Aggie, Jenn, Amy, and Joys of the world I am blessed to call you more than just a sister, but also a close friend) The morale of this is that if you surround yourself with those who align with your values and passions you can accomplish more together. You will push each other, and challenge each other. You will pick each other up with you are down, and inspire each other to achieve more.
I have also learned that it is important to at times be selfish with your volunteer endeavors. Meaning it is important to at times stop and evaluate what is important to you, and if the volunteer role is still relevant. Questions to ask yourself?
Am I the right person for this role? Could I tap someone else who is more aligned?
Who is my bench strength? and/or who Could I develop to volunteer in this role in the future?
Does this volunteer role challenge me and engage me as a volunteer?
Does this volunteer role truly capitalize on my strengths? and challenge me in ways that allow me to grow as an individual?
These are questions I use to pulse check myself in the many roles I play. And those that know me know my hand is going up less these days, but not because I am volunteering less becuase I am being more purposeful in volunteering.
And if you are thinking about volunteering. I feel it is important for me to share that you must always keep in mind- that to the world you may just be one person, but to one person you maybe the world.
So what does the future hold?
One can be sure that I will continue to have a hellium hand in work and volunteering.
But I will also remain committed to raising my hand in my personal relationships and endevors.
I will raise my hand to date nights
I will raise my hand to blogging
I will raise my hand to travel
I will raise my hand to remain committed to being the best me I can be.