Why are you here? I recently asked a group of community volunteers this question. They served on a coalition that was attempting to reduce substance abuse and increase educational opportunities for youth in their community. I wanted to know why this project was worth the time, attention, and resources they dedicated.
Here’s how they responded:
- I need to help families.
- I want to provide leadership.
- I love working with people and we have to work together.
- I believe this is a “calling” for me.
- I want to help others.
- I want to do what I can to enrich this community.
- I’m concerned for the children.
- I believe in helping the youth.
- I want to eliminate barriers.
- I just want to do what I can to make this a better place.
- I enjoy working with youth.
- I’m a mom of a teenager and I know what people are dealing with out there.
- I want to be more than an “office holder”, I want to work and help.
- We need to strengthen the connection between the church and the community – I want to help with that.
Everyone in the room had a personal, motivating reason for being there. They weren’t there to get credit, become famous, advance a hidden agenda, make a profit off of someone else’s challenge, or to be in charge. They were there for a greater common good. They were there for each other, they were there for the community. When we come together to serve a greater purpose beyond our ego we can get so much done, because we’re not there for selfish reasons.
Whether you’re a paid staff, consultant or volunteer– if you claim to want to help others, then please help others. Remember, why you’re there.
How would you respond if asked, “Why are you here?”