We’ve all heard that it is more blessed to give than to receive. But we live in a world where many are ruled by their wants and desires. When that adage comes up people think, “Yeah right, I’d much rather receive a flat-screen plasma television set than to give one away.” But there is some truth to this. There is a lot of truth to this.
Back in September, I lost my day job. It was completely unexpected. While I didn’t miss the job itself, I did miss my co-workers and I missed my paycheck. I get unemployment but it is not nearly as much as I had been making. Plus, I bought my first-house last year.
The first few weeks were fine but then the fear, the frustration and the anxiety set in. Add to that the admonishments from both friends and family that I, as a life coach, I should be beyond feelings of fear, frustration and anxiety.
But I pride myself on being honest and, honestly, I was scared and I felt like a fraud for being scared. Maybe they were right. If I were any kind of coach wouldn’t I be able to snap my fingers and banish these emotions in an instant? Shouldn’t I be able to be 100% positive all the time?
To make matters worse, I was alone. I live alone and that’s fine but with no job to go to, I was alone all day every day, all day. It was maddening. It was like being in solitary confinement. I had full days to dwell on my problems, my situation and myself. I would spend days operating on little to no sleep. I knew I needed to do something but I wasn’t sure what.
I reached out to a friend and she suggested that I find volunteer. It would get me out of the house and, if I found an organization that was a good fit, it would give me an opportunity to use some of my skills. “You can’t let your talents go to waste sitting at home,” she reasoned.
I didn’t hesitate. That night, I went online to Volunteer Match and I did a search on local non-profits. Jacob’s Ladder, a local job readiness training program, came up. It sounded perfect. I called the next day. I met with them later that week and started volunteering that next Monday.
I’ve been able to use my training expertise, my life coaching skills and what I know about job searching and interviewing. I have helped people with applications, resumes, getting professional clothes and interviewing. I have been able to help the students in the class become more proactive, develop workable goals and see things from a variety of different perspectives.
I have been giving of myself, my skills and my talents. It is, and continues to be, an amazing experience. While I have been giving, I’ve been receiving so much more. My outlook immediately improved. I began sleeping again. For the first time in weeks, I felt like myself again.
I also came to realize that feeling those feelings doesn’t make me any of a less effective coach. It makes me human. And now, I even believe that these kinds of experiences might even make me a better coach. I was down; but I didn’t stay there. I found a way to get up and I know that I can help others do the same.
However, my turn around started when I started to give.