One of my favorite shows is The Secret Millionaire. It’s in my top three along with Top Shot and Modern Family. I like it because this show provides an opportunity for us to learn more about the millionaires and witness personal exchanges and growth associated with giving back. My favorite quote from a recent episode: “If you want to feel good about yourself, help someone else.”
However, you don’t have to be a millionaire to give back and you don’t always have to give money.
You can volunteer.
Last weekend, I volunteered at a cheer station for Team In Training at the Oakland Running Festival. It is a half marathon, marathon, relay, 5k and kid’s fun run. I did it because I know how important it is to have people cheering for you at every mile — especially when those miles get in the 20s. I purposefully requested mile 22 of the marathon which was also mile 7 of the half marathon.
I, along with three other fabulous women, cheered our hearts and voices out! And we cheered for all runners, not just Team In Training.
I know how hard mile 22 is, as well as the 4.2 miles that come after. I’ve run three full marathons and every single one of them was an accomplishment! But what I remember most from running them was the words of encouragement from random strangers standing on the side of the street. It is right around mile 22 and 24 when those exclamations of “you can do it!” and “awesome!” are needed most! I needed them because I was always drowning in tears but hearing a “you’ve got this” helped to distract my self-doubting mind and focus on finishing.
No matter how small the gesture, it can have a really big impact!
I can only hope that my cheers, clapping, and exclamations “looking strong” helped distract runners’ from any of their self doubts. I know it did because every time I saw a runner struggling and I started cheering for him or her — they found renewal within to pick up the pace and keep smiling. I did!
April is National Volunteer Month. Give back and give someone (and yourself) a big smile!
Resources to get you started: