I’ve been thinking about the whole realm of volunteering. My thoughts started when I received a phone call from my Friend, who needed to borrow a canopy for the Garlic Festival–it will probably rain.
My Friend is the “backbone” of volunteering efforts. She just finished helping to build and manage a float in our local Memorial Day Parade. Now she is running the DAR booth at our local Garlic Festival. The day after her garlic duties are completed, she is in charge of pulling together a group of us to provide for our annual Music Festival. And those are only some of her efforts. Every week she attends meetings, goes to lunches, has tea, sends emails, makes phone calls, helps drive, shop, and generally be available for those in need. She has grown kids with an assortment of grandchildren. She sends care packages and plans trips. She is amazing.
And then she said this, “Well, face it. In any organization, there are only four people who actually get things done.”
My question is: when I join an organization, do I plan to be one of the FOUR? And if I do become part of the FOUR, when do I exert my ability to say, “NO, THANKS.” Isn’t this how burn-out occurs? Isn’t this when ill feelings begin to rise, when a few do all the heavy lifting for others?
And if I am part of the FOUR, do I try to be part of a team or do I need to be in charge (because, again, it is just plain easier to do it myself than to try to rely upon others, right?). Do I listen to others, or have I been doing this for so long that deviating from my formula just won’t work? Do the new volunteers cause me more problems than help me? Now, exactly, why am I doing this?
I wonder, does my neediness, my type A, my obsessive-compulsive, my ADHD, my fix-it, my earth mother, my ego all need to be one of the FOUR? Or am I just a nice lady who thinks everyone ought to pitch in and help out?
Whatever the reason for being a FOUR or not being a FOUR, I think it would behoove me to think of the fable “STONE SOUP” and try to put things into perspective.
Just some thoughts. Be gentle with yourself.