This past weekend I participated in my 16th annual walk for cancer research. Along with about fifty other participants, I walked 30 miles over two days to raise money for Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center. Throughout the weekend, as we logged our miles, we connected with new friends, helped each other stay motivated, and re-discovered our inner perseverance (as well as, a few blisters.)
As one of the founders of the walk, I had contributed my time in advance, to help plan the route, send out requests for donations and manage ongoing communications with the other walkers. It was crucial to anticipate all the potential needs of the participants. No matter how many years I've been involved in this rewarding endeavor, I still lost some sleep the night before, worrying that we may have missed an important element.
I shared the road briefly with one young woman during the walk. In her mid-twenties, she described her first job post graduation, and remarked on how well prepared she had felt right at the outset. My young friend was convinced that her experience on the lacrosse team in college had prepared her for life in the work force after graduation better than any class she had taken in school. She explained that by playing lacrosse, she had become a member of a team requiring her to be dedicated, resourceful and disciplined, three words that don't necessarily describe the profile of a typical college undergrad. She commented that she was still in close touch with many of her lacrosse team friends and that the majority of them had landed good jobs. Every day at her new job made her cognizant of dipping into a bag of intangible skills garnered from her participation on the lacrosse team.
What an interesting observation this young woman made about how we bring such similar skill sets into our business and personal lives? Playing a team sport, volunteering for a charity, training for an athletic event and running a small business are such parallel occupations, but it’s easy to lose sight of the connected abilities we bring to each. Without a doubt my daily work as a marketing consultant and my role as one of the organizers/participants of this event are equivalent. Putting on a fundraising walk is similar to managing one of my marketing accounts - labor intensive, detail-oriented, time-sensitive, creative and collaborative. Not to mention, incredibly rewarding, joyful and meaningful.
These varying life experiences allow me to sharpen my talents, both in and out of the office. Having fun along the way is just my year-end bonus!