This time last week I was feeling super nervous. I have been part of a voluntary team organising an event to raise funds for school and I really wanted it to be a success. For sure something was not going to go to plan (it’s the nature of the beast) but it wasn’t for the want of trying really hardindividually and collectively over many months in the making.

From a HR perspective, it has been a fine example of team work – allocated roles, long term planning, delegation, teamwork, meeting deadlines, monitoring budgets and spend. What I find more fascinating is the team is made up of very different personalities, different skills, abilities and different networks but each with equal value to contribute whichenhances the overall outcome. For sure we have had some hitches and technical hurdles but we have problem solved together. All united, motivated and in pursuit of a commongoal.  On this occasion, the goal is to raise as much funds as possible whilst our children are in situ to maximise their learning and education.

Many times during the last few months I have been asked why I take on additional responsibility? It’s an easy question to answer because for me it’s not about self-publicity or image itis wholeheartedly about ‘giving back’.

And yes that will read as cheesy and corny to some but fundamentally someone ‘gave back’ voluntarily to me in my childhood and youth in the form of a Brownie Leader, the Coach at Halesowen Swimming Club, Netball & Hockey at Windsor High School, the Orchestra leader and the list goes on……..Without those experiences, I wouldn’t be shaped both socially and educationally as I am today.  Therefore, if I don’t ‘give back’ in someway, how can I have the expectation someone else should on behalf of my children?

The volunteers whogave back’ to me the most were my parents who spent unquantifiable hours supporting with homework, ferrying us to clubs and societies and in the late teenage years provided a 2 am taxi service from 42nd Street, Halesowen or Stoodi Bakers on Broad Street, Birmingham. At the time it was the most uncoolest thing in the world to be picked up by your parents but clearly it was for my safety and wellbeing.

Now here’s the thing with ‘give back’. Everyone’s ‘give back’is different depending on personable circumstances, work commitments, childhood experiences, values, behaviors and beliefs.

You don’t have to ‘give back’ by organising an event or formally signing up to a club.  ‘Give back’ is attending as a guest, embracing a new idea, supporting an initiative, helping with positive communication, putting suggestions forward, donating your skills, equipment and time.  ‘Give back’ is alsodoing nothing because it is simply not your ‘thing’ or you need to ‘give back’ to yourself in that moment. And that is perfectly acceptable to me –  no judgement made.  Butgive back’ is not okay when you are not prepared to put yourself out voluntarily other than in the form of open criticism and negativity in pursuing what should be a common goal.

The greatest ‘give back gift in my view is time because after all it is our most precious commodity as individuals but it’s the most sought after donation by clubs, societies and communities.

I pick and choose my ‘give back’ throughout the year because after all its impossible to do everything. I’m not perfect. I filter what I can contribute to and this is usually defined by interest, resource, importance and practicalities. But I do take quiet comfort and reassurance in the self-knowledge that I have done ‘my ‘give back’’ as best as I can.

‘Give back’ is rewarding too.  It restores your faith in goodwill, community spirit and mankind.

I probably should spend the next few weeks ‘giving back’ to myself but frankly I’m just not wired that way, so no doubt I’ll be back, re-energised and re-invigorated to start another project…..

Go on – try it! Let’s see if we can start a ‘give back’epidemic!

HR Heart-Led

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.