This has been a challenging week. With work grinding to a halt and a number of other projects now on hold, I’ve been feeling very limited in my ability to truly serve. While most of my professional life is online and the phone, something has felt different this week as the collective level of anxiety and worry has only grown. Somehow staying inside and washing my hands (something I will admit to being VERY good at) just isn’t enough. After all, I’m not heading into the hospital every day to heal the sick…

Two things this week that helped my reframe my thoughts from ‘Why can’t I do more’ to ‘What can I do with what I have.’

The first was a mad dash of calls, writing and planning to briefly support some amazing volunteers and staff from the Guelph Community Foundation who are launching something big this coming Monday. It is COVID related so it had a strong urgency and purpose. For the little time I and another colleague were involved, it was a thrilling mad rush of creativity, collaboration and “yes and’. It was a lot of fun. After two weeks of hurry up and wait on the work front, it was rewarding to use my skills and serve these volunteers and their vision. 

The other motivator for me was revisiting the brilliant Give and Take by Adam Grant. If you haven’t read it yet, you must. In fact, stop reading this and download it, now. It’s the book I want to write. Through clear language and sound research he outlines why givers accomplish more than takers and feel better in the process. It is the head and heart business case for helping others (and servant leadership). The last chapter, in particular, is a gold mine of practical tips and suggestions to strengthen our giving skills. When you have 15 minutes take Grant’s Give and Take Assessment to see where you fall on the give and take continuum. Then read the book!

This week’s takeaway: It really is not about me. I have the gift and responsibility to maximize my impact regardless of my situation (which is pretty damn awesome even in the worst of times). I can’t allow any room for ‘what does this matter’ thinking to creep in. Servant leadership is the best cure to drive away those niggling doubts and brings out our best at home and work. Not feeling good about yourself? Elise knew what to do. Get up, wash your hands and go serve.

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