Using one hour each day to make an impact

What would happen if I took one hour a day, every day, to help someone? What impact might my actions make on the environment around me and for the lives of my neighbors?

Lately, my thoughts have lingered on how I use my resources and the value of my behaviors and actions. During the week a usual day consists of eleven phases: waking, getting dressed, feeding myself, commuting to my job, working from eight to five, commuting to my home, exercise, walking the dogs, eating dinner, watching a television show with my spouse, and going to sleep. Weekends are more loosely defined routines consisting of errands, rest and recovery, family time, participation in a community church, and other reactive actions/activities.

I am thankful for my health, a wonderful family, and employment that feels meaningful. I consider myself lucky to live in the United States of America. The education I received from the public education system and state university enabled me to be prepared for many great opportunities. I’ve been blessed with an abundance of opportunity, friendship, work, and family.

Yet, most of the time I don’t feel happy or fulfilled. I feel driven to learn more, grow stronger, be more effective and productive, help others, to support our community, the region, and the state in which I reside (i.e., Michigan). I do feel happy when I am working on challenging problems and when my actions appear to have a positive impact that supports the success of my partners, employers, family, and friends. Beyond my family and employment responsibilities—I have begun to wonder what might be possible if I tried to help people with whom I don’t have routine interactions (e.g., neighbors, strangers, local non-profits, government, etc.). I believe I could budget one hour most days for work with others. My outreach efforts would involve approaching others, to ask how I could help them, to share my knowledge and/or abilities. The hour could be spent doing anything from running errands for a home bound person, performing tasks that require physical labor, listening, building business plans, creating new Web sites and communication tools, etc.

I’ve also been considering the lasting effect of such actions. Some tasks will only provide short term value or relief. It seems to me that the best actions would be those that enable others to sustain, duplicate, or spread the value produced by our interaction. I need to think more about how to effectively be available for opportunity, leverage available resources, and move into action.

In closing, the thoughts and concepts on this page are what have been weighing on my mind lately. I am going to continue to think about this and consider next steps. Thanks for taking the time to read this!

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