I mentioned earlier this month, that I love the month of June. My personal history reveals that it is a time of important milestones. Significant events in my timeline have occurred during the month- some good, some sad, some happy, some bad. I’ve learned to go with the flow. Ok I’m still trying to learn to go with the flow! I have learned that when change occurs, it’s the universe revealing that something wasn’t quite right, or I’ve learned what I was suppose to learn and now pointing me towards a new lesson. It’s a time of cleansing the palate. It’s a time of respite. Kids are finishing the school year and gearing up for summer.. that wonderful time to kick up your heels, relax, rejuvenate, review and renew. To me it’s a time to really contemplate if the direction I’m forging is good for me. I was pleasantly surprised to have this sentiment echoed this week in a terrific segment on the Today Show by Jane Pauley “Your Life Calling” “a new series produced by AARP and featured monthly on TODAY. “Your Life Calling” highlights people age 50+ from across the country who, by choice or necessity, are trying new things – whether it’s starting new careers, learning new skills, changing how they live or finally pursuing their dreams.”
While I think it’s interesting that these folks are 50+, I think the lessons are applicable to anyone at any age from young adults just starting out and trying to find a career right on through folks who are retired, but not tired of being in service to others.
This past week’s episode Therapy dog brings comfort to nursing home residents
“With her husband often away on long trips and her daughter off to college, Sue Halpern decided to take on a new challenge:…”
I encourage you to watch the video. It’s a neat story of a woman who found herself as an empty nester with the “gift of time”. In considering her best next steps, she pushed herself to do something she hadn’t done before, outside her comfort zone and incorporate inspiring her dog, keeping the dog happy! ( I can totally relate to this- having grown up on a mini farm and always having all types of pets, dogs really are such faithful companions. You feel indebted to see the joy in their eyes!)
So she decides to explore having her dog become a Therapy Dog. The experience seemed to be very enriching for all. So much so she wrotea book “A dog walks into a nursing home” (My love of bad corny jokes all starting with something walking into a bar… I can’t help but smile when I hear this title).
I have shared in the Career Yenta blog and on the radio show, Your Career is Calling that I am a big advocate for volunteering. While it’s always wonderful to get paid, there’s something indescribable that happens when you volunteer.
Here are some points shared from this segment:
¨ Life expectancy increases by as much as 4 years by volunteering
¨ The patients in the nursing home really seem to light up as they are spending time with her dog
¨ The dog and Sue Halpern both seem to be happy.
¨ Sue shares that ”People who volunteer, feel richer, even if they have no money in their pocket”
What I’ve learned from working with non-profits:
¨ In managing your sense of loss, especially during periods of job loss (transition), the best thing you can do is keep busy and be of service to others. Volunteering provides that opportunity- you have a purpose.
¨ In evaluating what organization you want to volunteer with, it forces you to think about what is important to you. This is the same though process you should be employing when evaluating if a company is a match for you as the best next step in your career.
¨ The values/mission of the organization should be something you’re passionate about, in line with your own beliefs.
¨ It doesn’t have to be a big job
¨ You never know who you will meet that will be volunteering next to you or if this could turn into a viable career
There are many other lessons, sweetness and joy that can be derived from volunteering. The best way for you to find out is to give it a whirl- explore, experience, enjoy!
I hope you are inspired to start to be of service to others. You never know what riches you will encounter.
If nothing else, I hope that it reminds you that when presented with an event that changes your life, it’s an opportunity to grow. When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.
If you would like to check out the radio show from this past week:
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