How much effort do you put in to your relationships? How much effort do you put into your classes? How much effort to you put in to creating true value at work every day? How much of yourself do you invest in the board of that student group, or professional association, or non-profit that you help to advise?
Now think about how much you get from each of the above… do you feel like it relates to the amount of effort that you put into them? I do. In fact, I know that I receive the greatest benefit from the activities in which I invest heavily and give of myself tirelessly.
As I think back over my college career, my mind almost automatically goes to the different organizations I have been involved with and the people that I have met through that involvement. And when I think back I almost exclusively think of the organizations that changed me. ATO, Dawg Camp, OL, the Leonard Scholars, ODK – they changed me. They helped me develop as a person and a leader. They taught me valuable lessons and allowed me to learn from my many mistakes. I also dedicated hours and hours of my life to each of those organizations. I lost sleep, I crammed for tests, I had conflicting priorities – but I loved it.
And then when I think really hard, I can think of other organizations I have been involved with that had little effect on me. Activities that I don’t put on my resume because I don’t know what I would say if asked about them. There are things that promote growth and learning and then there are those that don’t….. Right? I don’t think so. I think that growth and learning is somewhat a function of the people around us – people matter. But, if you ask me, the majority of what we GET out of life and our jobs or extracurricular involvement comes from what we GIVE.
If you shut yourself off and give little effort while avoiding the people around you in a given organization, how can you possibly gain anything from the experience? Next time you wonder why you are in a place or in a job or in a role and you think that you hate it or that it is not worth your time… Think about how much time and effort you have given. If you have given it your all and still cannot see any reason to continue as a member or employee, quick, run the other way. But if you have not given the effort you are capable of and have not truly invested, then consider taking a different approach and maybe – just maybe – the outcome will be one that changes your view, your opinion, and also what you GET.
I believe that you get what you give. And you?