Why Service is a Top Priority for Me
First, I have to acknowledge I won the lottery in being born to an amazing, loving, supporting family in the United States. Not only was I surrounded by incredible people, but I also had access to every resource a kid needs to be successful.
Recognizing this, I believe every human being has the right to the love, support, and resources I was fortunate to grow up with. No one chooses the environment they are born and raised in. For this reason, my everyday drive is to serve and inspire people to make the most of their lives.
Furthermore, I feel a responsibility to leave this world a better place than I found it. Not only do I receive joy from serving others, but I also gain a sense of purpose. Why does that sense of purpose matter, you ask? I feel I am on this earth for a reason; to use my platform and privilege for empowering others. It's not about me. It's about the world as one collective unit.
Imagine if we were all serving one another for the betterment of humanity? That is the sole purpose of the Better World Challenge; to inspire and challenge you to take action in making the world a better place by serving your community with your unique skills and passions.
Justin, is service only volunteering? Absolutely not, service comes in countless shapes, sizes, forms, angles; you name it! For me, I thought I didn't serve at all during my high school years because I never volunteered.
Actually, that's wrong. As a matter of fact, I was serving people every day as a teammate. During my senior year of basketball, I rarely got playing time. My talents on the court weren't what my team needed, though. Every game, I took pride in cheering on my teammates and always being the first one off the bench to give them high fives. My high school basketball experience is a simple example of how one can serve others.
My purpose for sharing this story is to highlight service comes in many different forms. I guess you serve people every day, whether it be your friends, family, or colleagues. You don't even have to serve people; your service may be to the earth or animals, the list could go on forever.
Intent Vs. Impact of Service
Volunteering is an excellent way to serve others, but I want you to keep this in mind: intent versus impact. We all have good intentions of making the world a better place, but sometimes we miss the mark. I have a perfect example. A few years ago, the wide-eyed world changer in me went to Uganda and "volunteered" in Buikwe, Uganda. I brought my fun-loving spirit and felt like I was making a difference. Also, I volunteered numerous hours raising money for the school I was volunteering at.
However, my intentions were, unfortunately, not sustainable and created a dependency on our funds. Currently, the organization I am a part of isn't active, and the school is now struggling without our consistent support. Our intentions were positive, but over time our impact created an unhealthy dependency.
I don't share this story to discourage you from serving others and doing volunteer work. I share this story because it's essential to think about your actions before you serve.
Service and Personal Development
Wait, so I can serve others and grow myself as well? Absolutely! Over the years, I've found my experiences of serving others to be the most rewarding, whether volunteering as a coach or mentor or being a paid staff at the Boys and Girls Club. One of the most important lessons I learn through serving is improving my ability to adapt to my surroundings. For instance, last year, I had the chance to coach an inexperienced 7th-grade boys basketball team.
As it was my first time coaching, my goals at the beginning of the season were to turn them into a championship team. Quickly I began to realize that creating a winning team isn't my job as a coach. My purpose was to encourage our players to become the best developing humans on and off the court. That season of coaching only scratches the surface of how much I learned by serving others.
I would like you to think about how you serve others or the earth in your life daily. Then, take some time to reflect on how you've grown as a person through that service. Service is never-ending, and the world needs more of it.
I look forward to sharing more inspiring stories and experiences to further your understanding of personal development through service. I would love to hear about your personal development through service. Either leave a comment below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, and I'd love to chat. Continue being the amazing human you are, and I'll be writing for you next week. :)