Living Better: Giving Back, Paying it Forward and Helping Others - ITS Tactical
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Living Better: Giving Back, Paying it Forward and Helping Others

By Bryan Black

6 of 6 in the series Living Better

Giving back is a fairly generic term, but one that carries a lot of weight. Personally, I’d be nowhere without all the teachers, mentors, role models and those that have helped me become who I am today.

Appreciating that fully and taking the time to pay those experiences forward to others, is what I’m often guilty of neglecting to do and what I’m striving to be better at in my life. When it comes to showing my appreciation for something, or volunteering to help, I’m miles ahead of where I used to be in my twenties and worlds from where I was in my teens.

As I get ready to tackle my late 30s, it’s personally becoming more important to give back, or in this context, doing whatever I can to help those around me to be successful. This includes using any resources I have at my disposal, such as my time, contacts, finances, or just getting my hands dirty with anything physical.

Learning To Say No

A large part of this giving back has also been learning to get better at saying no to a lot of opportunities that come my way. This may seem counterintuitive to the overall goal here, but in reality, focusing my efforts on just a few important ways of giving back has enabled me to devote more of my time and effort into them and be more committed.

I’ll use the “spreading yourself thin” analogy here, in that by having too many different avenues of giving back set up, you won’t be able to fully commit to helping out the way you know you should be.

How to Give Back

How you choose to give back is of course up to you and what you’re able to manage, but overall, I feel strongly that it’s an important part of personal growth.

A great place to start is right at home in your community. What opportunities align with your likes, or things you believe in? Be honest and figure out just how much time you have too. It’s never a good thing to have to go back on your commitments, so avoid that becoming an issue by really thinking about your time up front.

Helping out in your community is great, because you’re also showing support for local resources and many times, helping your local economy.

Some examples of these opportunities include:

  • Share your skill-sets and what you know with those around you. The Boy Scouts of America is a great place to start and one I’m proud to donate my time to.
  • If you have children in organized sports or activities, volunteer to help lead, coach or serve.
  • Help seniors in your community; consider a service project to help them around the house.
  • Send morale and care packages to deployed soldiers.
  • For those who enjoy making gifts Operation Gratitude collects handmade items, knitted or crocheted scarves and hats year round.
  • Make an online donation to a worthy organization. Here’s a few of my favorites: America’s Mighty Warriors, Warrior Dog Foundation and All In All The Time Foundation
  • Look into becoming a mentor at Big Brothers Big Sisters of America.
  • Spend quality time with your family.
  • Pick up trash at your local park.
  • Donate your time to a local food bank or shelter, the holidays are a great time when help is needed even more.
  • Volunteer at a church, there’s often many different things they could use help with on a constant basis.
  • Become a Disaster Responder or Blood Drive Volunteer at American Red Cross.
  • Mentor a fellow business owner.
  • Donate clothing to a shelter.
  • Volunteer at a local walkathon or race.
  • Humans aren’t the only living things who need help. All too often pets are in need of stable, loving care either through adoption or helping out at an animal shelter.

Also check out Volunteer Match and Give Spot, they’re both great online resources for learning more about opportunities to volunteer near you.

What are your favorite ways of donating your time to help others, or organizations you support?

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