Business, Life, Passion and Volunteerism
Read the Original Article at Linkedin
I love Linkedin. There, I said it. But what the heck does this have to do with business, life, passion and volunteerism? Patience, my friends.
Linkedin is a terrific place to connect and meet fellow professionals. I use it every week to "meet" new folks - those who might be able to support my business and those whom I will have an opportunity to help.
About a year ago a friend was struggling finding a new job. That friend had previous tried - for months - to get an interview with one particular company, but never even received an automated declination. So I connected, through another friend, with an EVP at this company. The EVP was able to arrange an informational job interview for my friend. Within a few months after this EVP "opened the door," my friend had several interviews and was hired. A new career which simply would not have occurred without Linkedin and the power of networking.
Professionally speaking, I believe you reap what you sow. I have had a rewarding career and after all these years, I still love what I do and I remain passionate about my trade. It is also undeniable that my helping others is incredibly satisfying and often comes back around to benefit me.
Like many of you, I worked more 60 - 70 hour weeks than I can count - all to achieve greater opportunities, pats on the back, and of course, the commensurate compensation which comes with such effort. So if your goal is to make more money than the Jones next door, then work really hard, work smarter than your cubemates, and never stop learning about your business.
That's all there is to business success, right? For some, probably. For the majority, probably not. That's because most of us need an offset for those work hours. We need some semblance of balance to maintain our passion for work and often, to maintain our sanity.
A huge part of my non-business life has been community and national volunteer activities. In fact, I strongly believe everyone's personal life should include activities which help others.
For me, my children gave rise to an active volunteer life. This included innumerable hours helping in their schools; many summers of coaching; scout leadership; and a plethora of other activities. I volunteered because I wanted to. I volunteered because it was a way to say thank-you to friends and neighbors for all they did for me. I volunteered because it taught me skills which made me a better worker, a better leader and a better person as I occupy space on this planet. I volunteered because I knew that it mattered.
In 2007 my 23-year old son Paul was killed. He was an innocent victim of a police pursuit which never should have occurred. I was working at General Casualty Insurance at the time and everyone there was absolutely amazing and supportive during what is the worst possible time in a parent's life.
During impossible times, at work or in your personal life, you will be forced to make decisions about your next steps. In business, you can take a deep breath and move forward. Or perhaps you leave and find something else more rewarding to do. Generally you do have choices.
In life, for most, quitting isn't a viable option. Many struck by tragedy simply pull into their shells and suffer in silence. Some have strong religious beliefs to help deal with the pain. Many now use social media as a place to express their feelings, their sorrow and share their grief with friends.
Part of my personal therapy was building and now maintaining a memorial website for Paul. And of course, additional therapy included my once again volunteering. This time with PursuitForChange and before that, PursuitSAFETY, a national non-profit working to save innocent citizen and police officer lives and to prevent unnecessary police chases. And recently I engaged with Below100, an organization whose goal is to reduce preventable line of duty law enforcement officer deaths and injuries. I'm certain that my advocacy and engagement and volunteering matters and has saved lives. How can you not be passionate about that.
Most of you reading this have a passion of one sort or another. Perhaps it's work. Perhaps it's something more personal like church or school activities. Maybe it's a sport such as golf or fishing. Regardless of what your primary passion is, I encourage you to invest a little bit of time each year as a volunteer. It doesn't matter what you volunteer for - there are thousands of excellent causes in your community and throughout the country.
Your volunteer activities will benefit others in need and it is amazing how volunteering will enhance and jumpstart your passion for business and for life. Give it a try.
Jonathan Farris is a retired insurance executive and president of InsuranceRescue Services, LLC, a property & casualty insurance consulting firm based in Madison, Wisconsin. Mr. Farris can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org