Bonus post for today to provide an update on my community outreach event on Wednesday night. You can find more information on the genesis of this event here: http://www.thenextstep1234.com/blog/giving-back-to-the-community-as-an-entrepreneur
I first thought about giving back on December 9 and by Wednesday, January 27, I started the relationship with a local charity in person with a kick off event. The place I am giving back to is a place where homeless moms and moms-to-be live together. I arrived a little early (I am always early; it is both a gift and a curse) and upon arrival, I threw my prepared "speech" away. I just did not think that was authentic enough or what was needed in this environment. There are 7 women living there and I was able to just sit with them and tell my story. Talk about how being a mom changes everything and how passionate I am about helping people to take their next steps. I told them I would like to volunteer at the facility to help them each identify and move forward on their paths.
I then opened it up and spoke to each of them about what their hopes and dreams are and then brainstormed on how I can help reach those goals. I am working on creating a study group for the GED, working on some applications and essays to get back into programs that were left due to life issues, resume creation and cover letters for next steps and more. I will be going back in February to kick off the working sessions on getting these things "done". I plan on becoming part mentor / part "do-er" with these women.
I received feedback from the director that everyone was so excited to have my help and it made me humbled, happy and proud of being an entrepreneur and devising a plan - I have always been an action person. I remember when one of my companies sent me to Singapore to help a failing project and during the 27-hour plane ride, I thought about how I was going to "teach" and what I was going to "preach" and then when I got off the plane, got to the office (no sleeping; just jump into the time difference; I was a bit of a zombie but it was ok), I threw out all of my "lessons" and "speeches" and just sat down and told them, "I am here to do the work with you; let's go." And just started doing instead of talking - this is the way I am.
As I work on various ideas and ways to promote my company, I always go back to the "just doing" idea that has built my career and makes me the teacher and educator I am today. What do you think about my "doing" methodology? Do you also feel rewarded by giving back? Happy Hunting!
Lisa Vento Nielsen