Would An Extra 59 Minutes Impact Your Life Balance?
By Donovan Grant
“You give but little when you give of your possessions. It is when you give of yourself that you truly give"
If you could find an extra hour every week, what would you do with it? Work out at the gym? Learn a new hobby? Play with the kids? Stay an extra hour at work? Use it for some me time? These are all good things to do. However, what if you gave up your time for someone else?
The reason I ask is because on Saturday 15 men and one woman gave up their Saturday morning to sit together in a meeting room in North London. They were not being paid for it and they were happy to be there. In fact they came in as strangers at 10:00 and they left at midday as friends. What happened?
We were gathered there because we had volunteered to help change the lives of boys in London who were at a crucial stage in their lives. The boys need help to tackle some of the critical issues that facing young people in London in 21st century. We had joined the mentor scheme that was initiated by the mayor and this was one on the introductory sessions. Now many people will get a bit sceptical when they hear about “do good programs” that are initiated by the government. Please be aware that the Greater London Authority has commissioned local businesses in the community to manage the scheme and deliver the training. This is not simply a do good program and this is not a time for scepticism. This is a time to focus on what is important – the boys.
When we entered the room it was evident that job titles and labels were not going to be important. We were greeted by a poster and leaflets that said “we’re looking for real life experience rather than academic qualifications.” Our group had a real who’s who feel about it and included a head teacher, a dance professional, a senior police officer, IT professionals, a HR Manager and a CFO to name a few. Yet in this room and on this project we are equals; we are playing for the same team and we all have the same goal in mind. Save the boys!
In fact, it was as the labels were taken off we started to see the real people emerge. Paul and Olu, the two facilitators put everyone on the spot straight away. “Why do you want to be a mentor?”
“To give back”
“I care about my community”
“In this changing world our boys need help”
“Help to fill holes in young peoples’ lives”
Paul then commended and shocked us in the same breath “ok, now share your ‘what’s in it for me’ reason?” Here are a few of our confessions that were shared . . .
“Satisfaction of helping”
“Leaving a legacy”
“Fulfil my purpose”
“Pay back to the community”
“Be a better father”
“Learn how to cope with my own children”
“Feel good factor”
“I wanted my daughter to see that I am doing something to help young people”
I didn’t actually see anyone cry. However you could feel the warmth in the room full of emotional men who obviously had connected with their softer side. We continued with other interactive discussions and Q & A before completing our mornings work. The old African proverb says that “it takes a village to raise a child” and we had taken the first step to becoming London’s village. This was an ideal way to start the weekend; making new friends and being part of something much bigger than all of us.
Remember this- Most people consider getting involved in a program like this and then never get started. They may have work-life balance issues other concerns that hold them back. They often say “I don’t have the time”, “I don’t have the skills”, I’m too young or too old” or even “I’m scared!”
My brothers and sisters, don’t be like most people. Don’t let excuses or resistance hold you back from helping to change a generation of young men’s lives. After attending Saturday’s session I can assure you that time, skills, age and fear need not be considered be an obstacle. The program promises to offer mentors all the training and support that you’ll need to make you the best mentor that you can be. And you have all the experience and the background that you need to do the rest.
So where do you find the one hour per week? You can do it!
One hour per week for 12 months would be a life saver to a young boy who may otherwise end up in a life of crime, in prison or killed. Time is not the question here, if you think it is go check out this recent blog post http://donovangrant.com/currency-time The question is “could you be a mentor and help change someone’s life?”
The 15 people in that room are just like you. They believe in living a balanced life and they believe in contributing to your community. They are giving of their time for the heartfelt reasons listed above.
Now it’s your turn…
Isn’t it time you shared your reason for becoming a mentor and saving a life?
I invite you to leave a comment below and let me know your thoughts on becoming a mentor in London or anywhere else in the world. Share you experiences and your challenges. Your testimony alone could make a big difference to a mentor and a mentee.
I believe in you and I am grateful to you for allowing us to serve you each and everyday!
Donovan Grant is a "Honest and True Step By Step Work-life balance and Career Coach. His systems help the average career changer as well as high flier get extra-ordinary results quickly. www.donovangrant.com.