The Energizer

Resilient Insights for Work & Life

Give To Get

by Eileen McDargh, Chief Energy Officer - Monday, September 16, 2019
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I called my operations manager, Bonnie, the other day but she was out of the office. When she returned, her voice sounded happy and I could tell something good had happened. When I asked, her answer surprised me: “I was out delivering food for the police and first responders.”

In our ensuing conversation, I asked her to write about the power of volunteering. Here’s Bonnie:

I own my own business so keeping a lid on burnout is always a concern. Add to that a propensity towards anxiety and depression and you have a constantly brewing soup of emotions. I’ve tried every prescription drug on the market with no results except for a level of numbness that keeps me from enjoying life.

A few natural solutions that have helped are yoga, herbs that help with sleep, reading self-help books and the occasional massage. However, one activity that always helps is helping others in need.  I started rescuing animals at a very young age and everyone in the family knew that every abandoned or lost dog, cat, rabbit or hamster somehow followed me home from school. I loved giving these animals a home either with my family or with someone else that my parents would find.  Helping these animals always made me feel great no matter what else was going on in my life.

As an adult I continued to support animal rescue financially or in person but I also wanted to find a way to help humans that really matter. I’ve helped the homeless, children, people in recovery etc. but I was still searching for something else… a more personal connection with those I helped.

One day I saw a Facebook post from a member of our private group for local people in our town.  She had been part of a group of people who provide water, drinks and snacks to the police and first responders to carry with them in their cars or trucks.  It worked out so well that she wanted to replicate that effort locally.  I immediately volunteered to pitch in.  She worked out a schedule and supply list for those who volunteered.  My job is simple:  I purchase two dozen Gatorade drinks a month and deliver them to the member of the group who delivers the supplies in a BIG red wagon.

Every month the police and first responders are overwhelmed and thrilled to receive our gifts. The members of the group receive pictures and sometimes videos of the delivery.  It’s a small thing to purchase Gatorade but what makes it so meaningful for me is my relationship to the police and the first responders.  Those good people, who sacrifice so much, have saved my life more than once so it means everything to me to give back.

The moral of this story is that you don’t have to be stuck in burnout, depression or anxiety.  You can break that cycle by stepping up to help someone else. It doesn’t need to cost money or a great deal of time.  It just requires you to take the first step. You can take a bite out of burnout by volunteering to help others.


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Eileen McDargh Keynote Speaker Blog Author

About Eileen!

Since beginning her consulting and training practice in 1980, Eileen has become noted for her ability to speak the truth with clarity, wisdom, humor and compassion. Long-standing clients and repeat engagements attest to her commitment to make a difference in minds, hearts and spirits of organizations and individuals. She draws upon practical business know-how, life's experiences and years of consulting to major national and international organizations that have ranged from global pharmaceuticals to the US Armed Forces, from health care associations to religious institutions. Executive Excellence magazine selected her as one of the top 100 thought leaders in leadership and among the top ten consultant providers of leadership development.

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