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What’s your Story?

January 23, 2009

Social awareness. A term thrown around loosely, one you might hear in a classroom, on the street or said with an air of swagger at a networking event. But how many of us are socially aware of the situations that exist in daily life? 

My question: Can we claim to know target markets as communication professionals / know our memberships as association professionals, if we aren’t socially aware?

So that leaves me with the thought of…. How does one become socially aware? 

I walk the streets of Dallas and ask myself daily what someone’s life story is. Sometimes, the one I make up in my head is better than the one I hear – but these people all have a story to tell. One of happiness, one of hardship, one of absolute joy for being able to live. That passion is extraordinary in it’s own right. Ordinary people make the world go around, and it’s not all about going to networking events or staying only on “our side of town.”  Putting yourself out there is something you have to do, not only as a professional, but as a person.

Community service is a great way to get to know a multitude of people that are of all different walks of life.  I think people are cynical of community service because so many do it “to make themselves feel better” about well… themselves. Some self-serving satisfaction, perhaps. But community service is more than that – it’s truly having a servant’s heart. And we, as communication and/or association professionals, have to have that type of heart. And guess what else? That type of passion that I see everyday from John Doe. By getting to know a multitude of different people, you are learning markets, honing your communication skills, and are then able to adapt into any situation you may be thrown into. 

I’m not saying it’s easy. I remember that I whined and complained when at the age of 6, my mom made us go and serve turkey to the homeless on Thanksgiving. I think I complained because I had to wear a hairnet, and had never been exposed to anything outside of my happy, little bubble. Within that first hour, though – I had felt the passion of people. That compassion I feel for others everyday is why I’m in the field I am in. I get to talk to every age, every demographic on a daily basis. These people teach me more about life and myself than I could ever experience by never getting out there past my PR pro network.  When I pick up a paintbrush to paint a house, or I pass out flyers, or work in a soup kitchen, I know that my work has an impact on the passionate people who make the world go around.

By doing community service, I become a better professional. Be creative – hone your skills where you feel most passionate. 

What’s your story?

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One Comment leave one →
  1. January 23, 2009 2:52 pm

    Lauren I love your blog! Community service has been a big part of my life especially throughout college and now that I have a full time job it’s sometimes hard to set time aside to give back. But, it is essential to think of others and to get to know your community.

    There are many non-profit organizations out there who are always looking for volunteers. For professionals who can’t volunteer during the week, there are many organizations that need help on the weekends.

    Recently, the PR agency I work for offered pro-bono services to a non-profit in the Dallas/Fort Worth area and we had the opportunity to get to know different organizations that had great missions. It’s good to know that the agency I work for cares about our community and also wants to give back.

    Lauren your blog has inspired me to write a blog of my own. You can check out other posts that I’ve written here: http://mstrategiesinc.typepad.com/m_musings/

    Have a great one!
    @CindyOlivera

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