Twice a season, the community garden of which I’m a member holds a fundraiser. All the members are called upon to offer up any potentially valuable household goods we’ve lost need for: clothing, appliances, books, DVDs, etc. An array of homemade baked goods are also made available for purchase, along with coffee and lemonade on offer for thirsty passersby.
Since for this particular garden, there are no membership fees, these fundraisers serve as lifeblood to covering the annual costs the garden needs to survive as the lush urban oasis that it is.
This year has been particularly trying for all the garden activities as volunteer participation has seriously waned. Scheduled hours the gates must remain open to ensure public funding have been left unmet, and a failure to perform general maintenance has left our border plant areas looking shabby in what has been a very dry season.
With the busy schedules most of us pile on, we all understand that sometimes life happens and volunteer responsibilities can fall to the wayside. I happen to be someone who takes responsibility maybe too seriously. Even though I have taken on a few too many side projects of my own, which I’m juggling with an increasingly busy work schedule, I still make every effort to do my part in the activities to which I have committed. And I’m really hard on myself when I become stretched too thin, and am forced to slack on some of these commitments.
It becomes even more frustrating when I wear myself out to show up, and other people don’t. One thing I’ve found in the garden this season is that when my other garden members don’t seem to make the extra effort, my interest in participating wanes as well. Why do I overextend myself to do my part, when too many other people can’t seem to be bothered?
Our individual roles in an organization serve to bolster many others. Ultimately, our responsibilities, whether at work, home, or in a more personal role, all serve to help others in one way or another. If no one shows up to garden meetings or fulfills their required hours, it drains on those members who have more time, feeling the weight of added burden. The same goes for your time in the office. We all need to do our part, keeping at bay all the outside distractions, not only to help the company succeed, but also to serve our teammates and clients. Working in a silo can only go so far before we need to ask for help, or vice versa.
It’s a huge struggle to control the ego impulse and recognize that there’s a bigger picture. Whether you want to admit it or not, at some level, we all serve to help make someone else’s life easier, and there’s a reflective quality in turn; we rely on other people to help make our lives easier. It can be as simple as showing up, responding to emails, or sharing your challenges. You might be surprised to find help from where you least expect it.