I consider myself one of the luckiest ladies in town. Why? For starters, I am living my dream of being an entrepreneur. That, in and of itself, is fantastic. But I am also fortunate enough to work alongside dozens of nonprofit professionals and volunteers who just so happen to be some of the most inspirational people you’ll ever find. People who work in the world of nonprofit don’t get much attention (unless caught doing something they shouldn’t be doing). They typically wear many hats, juggling several different responsibilities at once and usually end up working very long hours. But they do it because they are incredibly passionate about their mission and the clients they serve. I’ve wondered what draws such wonderful, selfless people together and, as I’ve gotten to know a lot of them, I have noticed a common thread that ties their stories together. Many have overcome personal challenges, oftentimes the same type of challenge their organization focuses on, and they love helping others to overcome their own obstacles.
Of course, there are some well-known examples of people persevering through hardships and inspiring huge groups of people. There’s Somaly Mam who survived the sex trafficking trade and has become an international advocate for others going through the same plight. Then there’s Liz Murray, the young woman who was born to crack-addicted, HIV-positive parents in the Bronx, was left homeless and forced to sleep on the NYC subways while attending high school, and who is now a Harvard graduate. She spends much of her time speaking to and working with youth in similarly desperate situations. And just last month, a young man named Spencer West made history by summiting Mt. Kilimanjaro, raising $750,000 for Free the Children, an international organization empowering youth everywhere to make a difference in their communities. Did I mention West has no legs? He used his hands to crawl up the mountain. His mission is to “redefine possible” and it is safe to say he has done just that. He is truly an inspiration!
What amazing people who have inspired you to overcome your own challenges? What are you doing to inspire others?
Don’t worry! I’m certainly not asking you to climb a mountain or become an international speaker (although I’ll definitely cheer you on if you do). Instead, I’m asking you to take a few moments and reflect on some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced in your life and consider how you can use those experiences to inspire others. There are nonprofit organizations for just about any cause you can think of and none will turn away a compassionate volunteer who is ready to help. I promise that you will be rewarded tenfold for giving back. The feeling you get from helping someone else is unlike any other and you will absolutely not regret it. Oh, and if you need any assistance coming up with a cause to support or organization to become involved with, you know who to turn to! 😉