Last week I attended the General Assembly of YMCAs. I’ve been a volunteer in my local Y for almost 12 years, and had the opportunity to be part of our big conference. It’s one of those events with nationally known speakers, big audio and video spectacles, and lots of energy and emotion.
It brings home how important it is to be part of something, especially something so big that touches so many lives. Like many of you who are in transition, I spend a good amount of time in my home office, where I write, design programs, and talk to lots of people by phone and email. This can get lonely sometimes, so being a volunteer gets you out of your seat, and as I like to say—get’s you off the computer and into the world.
And boy did this conference do that. You see, the Y is changing. Like many organizations entering the 21st Century, we’re coming around to the idea that it’s time to freshen up our act. Maybe the recession has a little to do with this, and that makes me happy. Outside motivation helps.
Funny that I just talked about changing my business logo, just when I show up to see that the Y is changing it’s logo too. Time to freshen up indeed. And seeing that process unfold in a room with almost 5000 people is uplifting. When thousands of people are laughing and clapping together, you can’t help but catch the wave of energy.
Going to this conference lifted my spirits, and helped reinforce the health and mood benefits of being among like-minded people who care about their mission. The new branding of the Y focuses on strengthening the foundations of community. And one of the new taglines is, “because we need each other.”
This is exactly why it’s so important to join or increase your activity in a team when you’re going through a big transition. While it’s good for others, most importantly it’s good for us. When our brains are releasing more serotonin because we’re feeling good about ourselves, it’s most likely that we’ll also start bumping into more good opportunities. And what could be better than that? Through helping others, we get better ideas on how to put our own contributions into play, and feel happy in the process.
Join the Y! Volunteer at the Y! It’s a great experience. But most importantly, find your Y (or why), your tribe that keeps you boosted up and ready for new possibilities. This conference made a difference for me—change of pace forces neurons in our brains that didn’t know each other to get acquainted—and that means turning on the creative juices, feeling good and getting the energy to take the next steps.