67 minute attitude

“There is no passion to be found playing small – in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.”

 – Nelson Mandela

Nelson Mandela has just celebrated his 94th birthday.  It warms my heart to see so many volunteer in some shape or form in celebration of hisbirthday.  The “67″ represents the number of years he served the Nation of South Africa.  How wonderful it would be if we rather had a mindset of giving back in this way more often.

Not many of us are looking forward to ageing.  However, I know many who are an inspiration as they age, living their lives to their full potential.  In my work I have observed that people who age better are those who have the capacity for learning, changing what they think about their experiences and imagining other ways that their life and the world could be.

As the CEO of The Refirement Network (www.refirementnetwork.com) my main role is to research and understand what the baby boomers of South Africa will experience as they head towards retirement.  We will live longer, feel that we can continue to work and many may want to volunteer or find an “Encore” career in the social sector.  There is so much need for skill and wisdom in this sector and volunteering as part of your journey would be great idea.

The vision I have is that baby boomers both from South Africa and elsewhere in the world can bring their knowledge, time and skill to help bring about change in the education, health, environmental or job creation arenas.  The time may be 67 minutes, 67 hours, 67 days or just a change of heart and attitude that enables you to build bridges and lend a helping hand.

In 2009, while doing a certificate in social entrepreneurship around this topic, an interesting number jumped out at me.  Baby Boomers were born from 19-46 to 19-64. Nelson Mandela’s prison number is 46-6-64.  The “6″ in the middle did not fall into place until I saw the movie Invictus.  On the day South Africa won the 1995 Rugby World Cup, Nelson Mandela wore Francois Pienaar’ s number 6 jersey.  The number 6 reflects the deep understanding of humble leadership shown by this influential leader.

Here are some ideas to ponder over:

  • Visit someone older than you on a regular basis
  • Offer help at a school or pre-school near you
  • Share your skills at a community centre or church group
  • Mentor a younger person
  • Go back and learn a new skill that you can then use in the next season of life
  • Offer to babysit or help a young person who is struggling to cope with the pace of life
  • Get involved in some environmental project
  • Approach a non-profit within your area of passion and offer some time and skill

The list can go on and on.  The most important ingredient is a decision from you to go out and JUST DO IT.

I challenge you to not only put on your number 6 jersey but to have a change of heart and build a mindset of a volunteer and make a difference wherever you are.

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