Are you looking for a way to build experiences that will differentiate you from your peers? Open doors? Allow you to build connections with top leaders? Make a difference?
If you answered yes, you should strongly consider getting move involved in the community. Many reasons led me to get involved in the Twin Cities community eight years ago. First and foremost was a desire to give back. The amazing thing I quickly realized was although I was giving back, I often felt that I received just as much or even more than I gave.
I have had the opportunity to meet countless leaders from all walks of life, to gain outstanding experiences and to participate in setting the strategic direction of organizations much earlier in my career than typical in a corporate role.
As you begin your journey, keep in mind these four keys to success:
Follow your passion – Only you know what gets you excited and energized — focus on an area that you enjoy. It doesn’t have to be what you do for a living; I look for opportunities that are different from my daily tasks so I can learn new skills and avoid feeling like I’m at work.
Organizations want you! – Organizations are looking for young professionals that want to get involved and help the organization succeed. Many young professionals that I meet ask “why would they want me?” The truth is you have great insights and experiences that are different from others that are involved. You are more than likely much more in touch with technology, understand what drives other young professionals and have great energy. Organizations aren’t just seeking your professional expertise, they’re seeking your unique perspective.
Don’t say yes just because you are asked – Once you start looking to volunteer, you will get more and more invitations to be involved in community projects. Don’t feel like you have to say yes immediately; take a day to evaluate whether a given opportunity is right for you. Do you get excited thinking about being involved with the group? If not, it’s better for both you and the organization to pass. Saying no to an opportunity gives someone else the opportunity to say yes.
Make a committment – The key to making your experience successful is to be fully involved. If you sign up for a committee, make it a priority to attend. If you are asked to lead something, over-deliver. This small idea of showing up and going above and beyond the call of duty will continue to catapult you to evermore expansive and enriching opportunities.
Tim Huebsch is a “Community Dot Connector” who has served in leadership roles with organizations throughout the Twin Cities and across the nation. His past experiences include serving as Principal for a Day, teaching personal finance at a university in California, helping to raise over $500,000 for Twin Cities charities and participating in the FBI Citizen’s Academy. His experiences and more details can be found on his website or on Leadership and Community where he is a regular contributor.