Occasionally I hit a wall with my enthusiasm. I feel like I ought to be doing something. I just don’t know what that “something” is, and I’m not terribly motivated to go looking for it.
I just finished reading a college-application essay written by my cousin’s granddaughter in which she addresses the same thing! So three generations apart…joined by the same challenge!
It’s sooo easy to slip into a comfortable “been there” mindset and spend your days just…“doing that.” But I’m not wired that way; I have to be doing something that is meaningful both to others and to me!
I sense this in a lot of my students at Curry College as well. As I get to know them in one or more of the classes that I teach in our Public Relations Concentration, I find that they, too, are looking for ways in which they can make a difference somehow. They may not know what that “difference” is or how they’re going to make it happen; but they are determined that it will happen.
The major challenge in this is that the opportunities are not going to come knocking on your door. You have to seek them out.
It took me a very long time to figure this out, so I’m not going to get all preach-y and wag my finger at you. I’m just suggesting that you’re going to have to do most of the legwork in this.
How to get started?
My favorite phrase: “Test drive.” Get out of your room/office/cubicle and pay attention to what’s going on around you. If you’re a student, what’s happening on campus? What types of organizations are there that, at first glance, sound interesting? Go to a couple of meetings and get a sense of what they’re about and how you might be able to get involved.
Then do something you would never do in class…raise your hand and volunteer! Is there a committee that sounds interesting and could use some extra help? Let them know you’re interested!
For example, in my very early years as a PR professional in Boston, I attended meetings of the local PRSA chapter. At one meeting, the chapter president made a pitch for volunteers to assist with the membership committee.
Immediately after the meeting, I volunteered to take on the challenge. She accepted my offer; I got involved; and more than 30 years later, I’m still an active PRSA member…and I’ve met a TON of PR pros around the world…and have gotten two very cool jobs as a direct result of those connections.
I tell this story often for several reasons. First, it’s a real-life example of how you can find something that gets you excited and makes you want to do more because you’re making a difference. Second, I’m not an outgoing type of person…I’m a serious introvert…I do not feel comfortable talking with people I don’t already know; I have a tendency to want to curl up in a ball in the corner and hide.
But as I’ve gotten more and more involved in PRSA (yeah, this is a not-so-subtle plug for joining a professional organization and becoming an active member…doing things, not just “being a member”), I’ve been offered a growing number of opportunities to use my energy and enthusiasm to help promote programs and activities. And I’m always inspired by the creativity I see in others.
The moral of this wandering tale is that you won’t accomplish great things by sitting around. You have to get out of your comfortably-familiar rut and actively seek out ways in which you can add value.
You have to find inspiration…it’s not going to come looking for you!