During the Entrepreneurs’ Organization conference we had a presentation from the founder of NGO, Wine to Water. He painted himself as a reluctant hero; called to action because he could not believe that more than one billion people on the planet do not have access to clean water. This is now his life’s work.
As I listened, I pondered how do we choose where we spend our energy, love and time? What is it that calls us to action to make the world a better place? I listened carefully between the lines – how and why did this man choose water?
I recently received an email from someone imploring me to consider what my legacy will be as he outlined what he had chosen as his life’s work. I don’t think that there is a day where I don’t consider my role and how I can make the planet a better place for my children’s children.
The reality is though that there are thousands of great causes; there are endless opportunities to be involved. As I listened to the founder of Wine to Water I thought what I really want to know is ‘Why do we choose what we choose?’
1. Where does passion come from when there are so many causes – we need to look deeply and meditate what is it that truly calls us.
2. Choose one thing and do it really well – focus delivers a greater outcome. (There are other great people working on many other issues.) “What is the ‘one’ thing that I want to fix?”, I asked myself. (I know the answer to this but it does not hurt to review it.)
3. That there is a great degree of happiness in one’s life when you feel that you are living for someone other than yourself. You achieve a great sense of purpose.
4. When you feel like you did make a difference and accomplish something. That you made a real and lasting contribution.
5. You are likely to be far more effective in your contribution when you can build lasting relationships based on friendship and shared values. To work side by side not ‘tell another’ how to live their life, to be culturally aware and sensitive.
No matter how passionate you are about your community contribution there are some days when you will struggle and, at that point, you must have people around you to remind you of the stand you made for yourself and the community.
Fundamentally, we choose where we spend our time when we discover this it makes a life worth living… and, of course, there must be a balance because without the ‘means’ (i.e. finances) you cannot change the world.
I reflected on my choices for contribution and I have reaffirmed my focus absolutely on happiness and friendship. There are so many wonderful NGOs doing amazing work, but my plan is to bring happiness to our community – because the epidemic of depression and suicide in our society is such a great, great waste.
You will see me focus on positivity and wellbeing; and thank-you to those who are called to the same thing. Feel free to join our Five Thanks A Day group on LinkedIn.
Naomi Simson is considered to be one of Australia’s Best Bosses. An employee engagement advocate, she practises what she preaches in her own fast growth business. RedBalloon was named as one of only 13 BRW Best Employers in Australia in 2012 for four years in a row with an engagement scorecard of over 90% in each of those years – the average in Australian businesses is 54%.
One of Australia’s outstanding entrepreneurs, Naomi regularly entertains as a passionate speaker, a blogger and a published author, most recently publishing Five Thanks a Day. She has received many accolades and awards for the business she founded, RedBalloon.com.au including the 2011 Ernst & Young National Entrepreneur of the Year – Industry.