Day-to-day life can be rather boring. We often look forward to the exciting plans we make because it’s an opportunity to do something outside our routine. We get out of bed in the morning, go through our morning rituals, fight the traffic, go to work, deal with our challenges, earn an income to pay the bills, go home, spend time with our family and friends, and then go to bed. We get up the next day and start the process all over again.
Our spiritual development requires us to commit to a cause greater than ourselves. In my book Living for the Weekday, a character named Dennis explains the importance of committing to a cause greater than yourself and what that looks like to different people. “Well, it looks different to different people. For one person, it’s about becoming a public servant because she doesn’t like the way the government takes care of the people. For another, it’s dedicating every free moment he has to an organization fighting cancer because he lost his wife to that horrible disease. It’s different for everyone. But ultimately, it’s about making a commitment to a cause much greater than themselves.”
At the end of the fable, another character shares the impact committing to a cause greater than herself had on her life: “A big part of my spiritual development has been committing to a cause greater than myself. Several things happened when my husband and I committed to helping the Alzheimer’s organization. One, we gave ourselves a bigger purpose for our lives than work. Two, we’ve committed to financially support the organization, so when I wake up and don’t want to go to work, I ask myself how I can support our organization if I’m not making the money to do it, and that gives me the motivation to get out of bed and go to work. Three, we’ve found a purpose for after we retire. We always wondered what we would do in retirement, and this provides the purpose. And four, others around us have seen what we’re doing, and it’s inspired them to do something similar.”
I encourage you to commit to a cause greater than yourself. Here are some things to help you along the way:
Find your philanthropic passion
It’s been said that if I want to know what’s important to you, all I need to do is take a look at your checkbook. I can figure out your priorities if I can figure out how you spend your money. I suppose the same can be said about how you spend your time. Once you’ve determined that committing yourself to a greater cause is important, establish what’s important to you and where your passion lies. Figure out what excites you. Figure out what provides the “goose bumps down your spine” feeling when you help fill a need, and you just may have found your philanthropic passion.
Determine the appropriate organization(s) in your community
Once you’ve found your philanthropic passion, figure out where you should serve. Unless you live in a very rural area, there will be an organization ready to accept your commitment. If you’re passionate about animals, volunteer at an animal shelter. If the thought of someone going to bed hungry makes the hair on the back of your neck stand up, volunteer at a food bank. If you’re not sure which organization to help, go online and search for opportunities in your community. There is a fit for your contributions.
Commit your time, talent, and treasure
Committing to a cause greater than yourself is about more than writing a check. Organizations need your time, talent, and treasure. Find your organization and donate your time in whatever way it needs. You have been given gifts of talent. My hope is that you use those gifts in your profession. Either way, give your talent away. If you’re an attorney, give away some legal advice. If you’re an accountant, give away some financial advice. And finally, give of your treasure. Someone once told me he got more satisfaction from giving his money away than he got from making it. At the time, I thought he was out of his mind. He was right. Only you know how much time, talent, and treasure you have. Commit to a cause greater than yourself, and provide your gifts accordingly.
Spiritual development is an individual journey for each person reading this blog, and I encourage each of you to figure out your bigger purpose, then commit yourself to a cause greater than yourself.
© 2016 Clint Swindall — Clint is the president & CEO of Verbalocity, Inc., a personal development company with a focus on leadership enhancement. For information about how he can enhance employee engagement in your organization, please visit www.verbalocity.com, or contact him directly firstname.lastname@example.org.