purpose

How to Enjoy Serving the World Around You by Amy DeRosia

CC photo by Tim Marshall

Live fully while you’re here. Experience everything. Take care of yourself and your friends. Have fun, be crazy, be weird. Go out and screw up! You’re going to anyway, so you might as well enjoy the process. Take the opportunity to learn from your mistakes: find the cause of your problems and eliminate it. Don’t try to be perfect. Just be an excellent example of a human being.
— Tony Robbins

I have a confession to make- if you see me volunteering at an event, it’s probably because I’m getting into something fun for free, meeting cool people, or helping a friend in charge of something. I don’t volunteer or say yes because it’s something I SHOULD do. These are things I enjoy with the added bonus of supporting a thing that matters. Healthy selfishness about how we serve makes us more inclined to do it again.

There is a limiting story in our culture about how we make a difference in the world around us. I admire people who are able to juggle working at a soup kitchen every week, being on 3 non-profit boards, and still getting everything done in their own lives. But I have accepted that I am not built that way.

Generosity is a mindset and a habit without a lot of rules. There are many simple ways we can serve our communities on a daily basis: planting a garden, creating a work of art and sharing it, hosting a party, visiting an elderly neighbor, starting a meetup, cooking a meal for a new mom, or smiling at strangers. We can go to bed every night knowing that we made someone else's day better.

If you want to awaken all of humanity, then awaken all of yourself. If you want to eliminate the suffering in the world, then eliminate all that is dark and negative in yourself. Truly, the greatest gift you have to give is that of your self-transformation.
— Lao Tzu

When we are listening to ourselves and to the needs of those around us, we get to solve interesting problems. We’re also happier and make a bigger impact when we know what we have to offer.

This requires us to practice more curiosity. Here are a few questions to help you clarify opportunities to be of service and create a better life in the process:

·         What do I want/need more of in my life?

·         What skills and talents do I have to offer? How much time?

·         What would I like to learn or improve?

·         What issues or causes matter to me?

·         What is my first step?

WHAT ARE YOUR FAVORITE WAYS TO SERVE YOUR COMMUNITY?

Do You Need to Find a Life Purpose? by Amy DeRosia

CC photo by Joshua Gresham

The purpose of life, after all is to live it, to taste, to experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.
— Eleanor Roosevelt

We start getting asked from a young age, "What do you want to be when you grow up?" Similar questions continue through college. For some people, a life purpose or calling is an easy answer. But that isn't true for most of us. On average, Americans have 11 different jobs in a lifetime.

Goals and aspirations are important. But we often cling to them. Following any plan too closely can result in missed opportunities.

Even if you know what you're passionate about and find a dream career, jobs end. Life circumstances change. In my case, I thought I knew what I wanted to do for a living and realized it wasn't a good fit once I got there.

The path to our destination is not always a straight one. We go down the wrong road, we get lost, we turn back. Maybe it doesn’t matter which road we embark on. Maybe what matters is that we embark.
— Barbara Hall

Life purpose is bigger than a job. For most of us, we will contribute to society in a variety of ways: our hobbies, interests, and talents. Whether we make them careers or not, there are unique ways for us to serve the world around us.

There are phases in our lives where our typical plans don't work for us. We can do better at noticing opportunities and preparing ourselves to go in new directions.

If you pay attention, you will start to see patterns about what you're interested in and what comes naturally to you. Follow them. Keep learning and trying new things.

Here is an excellent TEDx Talk by Emilie Wapnick on the topic:

Why I'm Writing This Blog by Amy DeRosia

CC Photo by  Jason Long

CC Photo by Jason Long

My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style.
— Maya Angelou

Over the past couple of years I've learned a ton about the topic of thriving where you are based on my own experience, books, conferences, blogs, and conversations with friends. But, with every answer comes deeper layers to uncover and more questions.

Many of our obstacles or goals are universal about living incredible lives in our local communities.  Others are specific to one person. But, no matter who you are, creating a great life on the inside and outside usually requires intentionality and perseverance.

I co-founded a group with my good friend Halley Rachal for creative young adults in my city (Shreveport, LA) called SBC Visionaries about two years ago. This was a big social experiment. Some of it has worked really well but other aspects of the group have needed to be adjusted again and again.

As time has gone on, it has become apparent that I needed a separate space to explore the topic of thriving than in meetings with the group. The main unifying desire of members is the chance to regularly do something interesting together in our city with people they don't usually hang out with.

We all have a common need to show up and getting out of our comfort zone regularly. But, a lot of SBC Visionaries members opinions, approaches, and interests are different.

This blog will be my place to share ideas in a more useful way than inside SBC Visionaries meetings or monologue-ing at a friend about a book I'm obsessed with over coffee. I'm excited to connect with people who are enthusiastic about similar topics.

Some of my favorite people in my city are the ones who are highly invested in our community. Many of them have started their own non-profits, businesses, grassroots organizations, and creative projects. They are dreamers who put their ideas into action and affect change. I'm looking forward to connecting with more people like that in the Shreveport-Bossier area and all over the world.

Thrive Anywhere Project requires a certain amount of idealism by seeing the potential in people and places. But honestly, what is the alternative? Whining? Helplessness? Despair? I hope not!

As a society, we are more and more disconnected from each other, afraid of uncertainty, overstimulated by technology, and addicted. Unless we find productive ways to respond to our daily stressors and the problems of our communities, we will continue to feel overwhelmed, stagnant, and grow in anxiety.

This is an opportunity to truly show up in our lives and communities. We can choose to find new ways to connect, collaborate, and serve each other better. Making a positive impact where you are keeps you sane, brings wonderful people into your life, and allows you to affect change-sometimes on a much larger scale than you could have ever imagined.

If you're frustrated about an issue, that is a good place to start. Find ways to solve that problem.  You don't need permission. You need social proof. Have something to say and create your own platform: start a blog, podcast, YouTube channel, Kickstarter campaign, meetup group, ect. And, participate in great things already happening in your community. You can do both.

You've got something unique to teach the rest of us. We have the opportunity to spread hope by living incredible lives in our neighborhoods, cities, and virtual communities. Humanity needs us shining brightly exactly where we are.

If you want to know a little more about my story, check out the About page. Please say "hi" and tell me about you in the comments :) Thanks for reading.