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May is upon us! The upcoming PMINJ Symposium has been on my mind, as well as the food drive in conjunction with the event. Most of us have heard from a very young age that it is better to give than receive. In most religions and philosophies there is a strong belief in giving back. So… I decided to do a little research on giving back and volunteerism.

There is scientific data to support the idea that giving provides us a path to personal happiness and growth. Through technology we can see that giving is hardwired in the brain and it makes us feel good. Not only does it have the obvious benefit of helping others, but it’s one of the most therapeutic things we can do for ourselves. Why? It takes the focus away from our own challenges - when we transfer our focus from ourselves to others.

However, you don’t want a negative effect to occur while giving back. While doing my research, I came across an opinion that with the words, "Giving Back" is the underlying implication that some payback is necessary because you must have taken something that needs to now be returned. If you start feel that way, then you are not going to feel good about giving anything – time, money or expertise. You may even feel taken advantage of or depleted. When the opposite effect occurs when giving, chances are we will not be very committed over time to the cause.

The key is to find the approach that fits best for you. When we do, then the more we give, the more we stand to gain purpose, meaning and happiness – we feel good.

I know the PMI New Jersey Chapter asks for your support in many areas - for the food drive, participation at events, and for your volunteerism. I chose volunteering for the NJ Chapter because it was right for me, I feel good being a part of a large professional organization and working with so many talented people. Perhaps it is right for you. Perhaps the food drive is right for you. When focusing on choosing the right thing, always choose what is right for you.

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