Monday, June 8, 2015

You Can't Give What You Don't Have

On a typical Monday, I would find myself pondering and writing about how to solve Association organizational issues with membership, non-dues revenues, meetings, etc.

Today I want to get a little more personal and talk to you, the association professional.  As I look around and listen to many executives face-to-face and online, I hear in their voice, that they are missing something in their life.  They want more from their career.  They want more meaning in their life.  They want to feel like they are growing, yet many can't find a good path to a meaning and fulfillment, because of the personal issues going on all around them called.."LIFE."

Growing debt, struggling relationships, a terrible boss, and just feeling unfulfilled to name a few.  For many, the lack of passion and quality of life you are experiencing right now is far from the vision you had coming out of high school or college.  You want to change, but you don't know the path to change.

There are four reasons people don't take the steps to get to the next level in their life, or pursue their dreams:
  • Fear:  Many are scared of failing or taking a risk. 
  • Don't Like Change:  New things make people uncomfortable. They want things to stay the same.
  • Blaming Others:  Many use the "blame game" to keep them from making the effort to pursue dreams.
  • Comparison:  A feeling of "insecurity" when compared to others will stall your efforts to pursue your dreams.
My question for you is, "Which one of these is holding you back from pursuing the life that you want, so you can feel the passion and fulfillment that you want in work and life everyday?"  To make the necessary changes that you need to make, it is crucial that you identify the reason(s) why, and work through them to joy and fulfillment.  Once this barricade to change is gone, your life is FREE to be whatever you want it to be!

You see, serving in a non-profit association of any type, at any level, is about SERVICE to others.  Service is about giving and passing on a passion of value that provides better opportunities for the people or businesses you serve.  In the life of SERVING others, "you can't give what you don't have."  If your personal life feels empty, unfulfilled, and without meaning, it will come across in your service to your members as you work with them.  But, if people are happy and fulfilled at home in their personal life, they will excel at work with less stress and anxiety.  Now we can ALL use a little less stress and anxiety...RIGHT?

An association executive's daily attitude should have fire and passion that drives them to help every member that they come in contact with, not because they have to, but because THEY WANT TO.
To maximize your meaning and fulfillment in your personal life, you must take a look at the four elements that will control 99% of your success in pursuing the quality of life that you want:

Choices:  Your choices throughout your life either expand or limit your opportunities in the future.  If you are feeling a sense of frustration in your life, you need to look back at the choices that you made and ask yourself, "Did my choices get me here?"  For many,  the answer is "yes",  and your frustration in life comes from a conflict between what you thought your choices were going to give you, vs. what the real world gave you.  Many have people have bad skills at making good choices.  It is important you make sure that you make sound choices, from sound information and input from others who also have good choice making skills.

Time:  Is the way you spend your time helping or hurting you in achieving the life that you want?  For many, if you look at what their goals in life are, and compare them to their day-timer, you will see very quickly that they will not reach any of their goals.  How you spend your time will directly impact whether or not you make your life goals. Take time to look at your goals for the life you want, and at the end of each week, ask yourself, "What did I do this week to help me get closer to reaching my goals?"  Sadly, for many it's not one single thing.  Connect your time with your goals and you will see an amazing difference in your life achievements...personally and with your association career.

Money:  This is a big one.  Money is such an emotional issue for everyone.  I gave my son a birthday card once that read, "Money isn't everything.  But it sure makes life easier."  That is so true.  Money can't buy happiness, but it can alleviate many pressures that come our way.  If you have ever run tight on money, you know what kind of pressure I'm talking about.  How you spend your money, either personally, or in business, will dictate if you make your life's financial goals or not.  You can't say, "I want to retire early in life", yet never put any money away in savings.  Many big decisions in life come at a cost or investment of money.  Make sure you connect your spending habits with your financial goals.  The pressures of life will be minimized with the fulfillment that you will have in knowing that you will have the money to reach your goals.

People:  The number one influence on humans is the people that we surround ourselves with.  If you surround yourself with good characters, you will have a good character.  If you surround yourself with bad characters, you will take on bad characteristics.  Why?  Because we have a need for acceptance and approval at many levels.  Many people with a good character have been lead to make bad choices, in order to gain acceptance from the rebellious crowd that they were hanging out with.  If you want to rise in your profession, you must network with people who also want to climb.  If you have a certain vision for your life, you must network and hang with people who also have a similar vision.  To hang on a regular basis with people who do not engage and encourage your goals and path to achieve them, will hold you back for your entire life.  If you are to reach your life goals, sometimes you must make hard choices to minimize your time hanging around people who are not headed in the same direction in life as you are.  Does that mean you ignore them?  Absolutely not, they are human beings and need to be encouraged to reach their goals as well.

So I ask you…"Do you know your personal goals in life?  Do you know where you would like to be in 1-year, 5-years, 10-years?  Do the choices you make, how you spend your money, how you invest your time, and the people you hang out with regularly, support your path to achieving the quality of life you desire and want?"

If's time to make some changes.  Make those changes in the four areas that I talked about, and you will begin to see personal fulfillment, that will come through in your passion and service for your work everyday with your association members.  You no longer serve because you have to…you serve because you WANT TO.  Big difference!

If you would like to know more, I launched my new, ground-breaking book on personal development at the Book Expo America show in May 2015 called, How to Get People to Scream Your Name and Beg For More.  This new book is a 360 degree view of your life, and the steps that you need to take to achieve the ultimate life that you desire.  Numerous outstanding reviews have come back from highly respected association executives saying how spot on and practical the book is for personal development.  I would encourage you to pick up a copy.

CLICK HERE to read Amazon book reviews.
CLICK HERE to listen to audio excerpt on Amazon.
CLICK HERE to read the first chapter excerpt.
CLICK HERE to visit the book website and purchase.

A year from now, you can either stay where you are at today, or you can be on your way to achieving the quality of life you desire...It's your choice.