Does Practice Make Perfect?

These guys look serious about their leadership. And they also look like they need a smile. Don't be like them. Smile.

I’ve thought a lot lately about life. Life in general. Life in the specific. Just life. I’ve read up on various people’s career paths and what I can do to better navigate my plan of success. After being moved to do better, I’m now exploring how in the world am I going make it happen? The answer is simple: I have no idea but I’m going to figure it out.

This, I imagine, is life for most of us. Yes, us. Us 20-something and 30-something year olds getting our lives together. Living out our dreams- so to speak. We don’t have all of the answers but we make it happen some how. And when it comes to a part of our lives that has the potential to change our communities, there’s no better time than now to practice the acts of giving back.

I’m sure if you’re reading this blog you’ve been active in some way in your local community. Tutoring. Mentoring. Volunteering at the Y. If not, then you gon’ learn today. Points if you can name that movie. Anyway, we give back now so these activities become habits that we will bring into our families, teach our children, introduce to our colleagues and get remembered for down the line. Right? Right.

For example, financial giving. It feels like a huge sacrifice at times. These days $25 can really set you back. Even if you’re like me and upped your giving ante a bit, we’re not rich so financial gifts can be hard on the Wells Fargo. Nonetheless, I’m a firm believer that the habit of budgeting to give $50 to your favorite charity now can grow into $100 then $200 and one day $1,000. Yes, of your very own money.

Then there’s civic leadership. Can I say, Lord, talk about hard work! A civic career is much like your professional one. You have to gain experience in order to be successful. The more experience you get the more valuable you become to the charity world. The more relevant you are the greater your impact will be. But where do you start? How do you find the time to fit it in? I started with BoardServeNYC. It was an excellent starting point for me. From there, it’s been learn as I go, honestly. There’s no magic trick here. There’s just nothin’ to it but to do it.

Those are just two examples of how practice can eventually make perfect. I’m not suggesting everyone reading this aspires to be board chairman or volunteer of the year. However, what I am suggesting is that the mere desire to want to do good, isn’t enough. You have to actually do something in order for it to become a part of your life- at any level.

That said, today/this week, I’d like to open the comment section up for open discussion/ best practice sharing. Answer me this: What are some ways you have learned to incorporate giving back and/or civic leadership into your life?

The best practices you share just might help someone else trying to make it work in their lives so share, share, share!…Sharing is caring!

10 thoughts on “Does Practice Make Perfect?

  1. I try to give back everyday. Something as little as giving money to a local sports team for new uniforms or buying lunch for a homeless person. All the little things add up over time.

    If you are more of the bigger picture do-gooder, then I suggest looking at your local civic engagement office or the public library. They always have volunteer things posted.

  2. It’s always been a part of my life. I don’t remember a time when it has not been.

    As a former career government employee and now as an entrepreneur, I tend to lean on the words of my former boss, a businessman without service as a part of their business plan needs to rethink the plan.

  3. I live for giving back to my community. It has not become “a part”..but my whole life. It’s more of a habit and it’s easy to do now. My tip: Commit on doing daily acts of giving. It will become a habit & you won’t have to schedule it in.

  4. My alma mater, Fisk University is my passion! In addition to my monthly giving, I run a Facebook group of 2,000 Fisk supporters–the largest alumni and friends group on Facebook. It’s time consuming, but I love it. It’s a way to celebrate the Fisk family’s accomplishments and stay informed and involved with the challenges the university faces. In 2012, I also founded as a means to preserving inspiring stories of the HBCU experience. We’re Making Memories Matter.

    1. *raise the roof for HBCUs* I admire your commitment to HBCUs. We need it. Our schools cannot become extinct! Do you have a model that others can follow to keep alumni engaged from their HBCUs?

      1. The main thing is to do something. I’m a historian, so naturally, I use my craft as a platform. I suggest that HBCU alumni use their gifts and talents to advance both their institution’s cause, and the collective cause of HBCUs. If you’re a writer, write; dancer, dance; a painter, paint; a speaker, speak; a fundraiser, fund raise.

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