Giving of ourselves sounds so simple, and yet we hesitate on many levels. Many people are among the first to criticize others when they don’t think things are going the way they should. I’ve been guilty of this, and I’m sure many of us have all been guilty at various points in our lives. I was asked to serve on different forums and continuously said “no,” until I realized that I was one of the worst offenders.

What areas in your life are there gaps? Are there things in the companies you work in that you are frustrated by the budget cuts and know it’s needed, but no one handles those tasks? What about in volunteer groups? Are there bases that aren’t covered because no one steps up? What about in your personal life? Do you feel anxious because there is only so much of you to go around? If you are anything like me, there may have been times where you picked up the slack and didn’t get compensated for those actions. It wasn’t so much about the money as it was the principles of the matter. I struggled with this concept for a long time until I learned to stand on my feet.

Part of what all of us are experiencing is a shift in what’s essential. Change can be overwhelming and scary. There is no perfect roadmap to create a successful operation. Something can and will inevitably go wrong, but that doesn’t mean we have to look for problems. Re-organizing our priorities can be crucial to adapting to changes. You may be a missing piece in a puzzle. A lot depends on how important it is to you to fill in those gaps. If you are a person that likes to solve a problem, you might help figure out solutions. Be mindful of complaints because the more you complain, the more others will start to think you are a whiner.

One reason many people don’t like to step up is they get taken for granted. Let me give you a prime example. I used to be fluent in Spanish. When I worked for a local healthcare system, I was added as a translator. They didn’t pay extra for that skill, and I should have been. It left a bitter taste in my mouth. When anyone brings additional skillsets to a job beyond what’s required, they should be compensated for those other skills. This logic is not always applied. I think that’s one reason I have taken on the mindset of “what’s in it for me?” In healthcare, doctors are often paid for surveys. One of the physicians that I used to screen calls for was paid $100 for a 5-minute call. This knowledge reiterated that their skillsets were higher, but my skillsets were just as useful in different ways. They excelled in medicine. I excelled in customer service. The point I’m making is my time is just as valuable as theirs. So is yours. When telemarketers call me for a survey now, the first question out of my mouth is, “Am I going to be compensated for my answers?” That may sound petty to most of you, but life has taught me that money doesn’t buy everything – but that doesn’t mean I have to offer my skillset for free. With all of the Robocalls we all contend with daily, I think it’s only fair to be compensated for the car warranty, IRS scams, and other telemarketing ploys.

When I write these blogs, I don’t make money. I do this for my therapy for myself and hopefully inspire others and let them know they aren’t alone on this journey. There are times in our lives that we have to determine whether or not to give ourselves because it’s the right thing to do for ourselves or to be compensated for what we offer. When I volunteer, I’m giving my time, knowledge, and resources with no expectations. That is a choice that I make.

Recently, my high school alma mater was holding its annual drive. I rarely give to the school because my memories of high school are painful. I recall being bullied by the mean girls in my class because I wasn’t wealthy and didn’t share the same views that my classmates did. I was a misfit in every sense of the word. Over time, I realized that I gave the school a gift that money couldn’t buy. That gift was the recognition that they were failing musically and artistically inclined students like myself. This option has become corrected with state-of-the-art programs.

There will always be places, and companies with their hands extended out for money for everything in life. Our skills are a gift. Whether you choose to use them at work, in your personal lives or use them in general, I hope you remember that your skills are something to be treasured. If you choose to share them with others, I hope you do it for the right reasons. Remember, you give of yourself every day. Sometimes the gift of ourselves is much more meaningful than any dollar amount. Knowledge from previous generations is priceless. When someone teaches a skill that is not common today, those skills give others a chance to learn from the past. The same is true for what we give each other. It’s incredible that growing together and learning from each other happens when we give ourselves opportunities. No matter what you give today, I hope you give each other kindness, a little joy, and a lot of compassion. Have a great day, everyone.

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