smart selfish.

This week I got a great dose of heart fuel. Quick back-story first:

All my life I have been advocating ‘doing good.’ You know the community service, mentor, volunteer kind of stuff. In fact for three summers of my college career, I worked at a conference in Washington D.C. where the entire message was to give because you can. It was one of the most fulfilling roles I’ve ever had.

In recent years, this side of my life has taken a back seat. Even though I work for a company who gives back often and in big ways, I have only volunteered for a few of our local projects. I unconsciously adopted the, “I’m too busy and someone else will do it,” attitude. This selfishness kept me from doing things that previously had been very important to me.

Now flash forward. This week I volunteered at the DePaul Soup Kitchen for a few hours one morning alongside a wonderful woman named Joyce. Joyce has devoted most of her life to giving back. Watching her interact with the volunteers and her regular customers was some of the greatest heart/soul boosts I’ve had in awhile, and I didn’t think I really needed a boost! Her authenticity and genuine happiness rubbed off on literally every person who came through the room that day.

Here’s the ironic lesson I learned this week. I always assumed and preached selflessness as the root of service. However, after this week’s boost of heart-drenaline, I’m thinking: Hey, be a little selfish and give back. You can get a ton from giving a little.

I’ll try not to get too after-school-special on you, but I thought this was an interesting lesson. My selfishness was what previously kept me from volunteering. Now, I’m going to tap into it a tiny bit to reverse my behavior.

Stop being stupid selfish. Be smart selfish.

To Joyce!


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