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When Giving Back Takes All You’ve Got

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It Ain’t All Sunshine & Roses

By now you know I am a big proponent of getting involved…in your local, state or national REALTOR Association, in your community homeowners’ association, in the PTA or little league, whatever. The point is to contribute to your surroundings and be an engaged citizen. I realize that all my ‘RAH RAH RAH, go out and make a difference’ rants might be getting tiresome, so I thought today I would tell you that volunteering may not always be all that I’ve cracked it up to be. As much as I love to give back and help mold the direction of things, I do hit low spots occasionally. Right now is one of them. Volunteering sux this week.

I know, you are shocked that I use such harsh words. And negativity is usually not my thing. But too bad-I get a pass today. I’m worn out. Perhaps I’m doing too much, have my hands in too many different things. Or maybe it’s just a bad week. I feel unappreciated, kicked around, and down right weighed-down by the responsibilities I have taken on. The tough decisions and the extra work that I had this week are burdensome, even keeping me from my writing! The criticism and flaming darts being flung my way hurt and, at times, get me really PO’d.

You know the feeling, right?

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Seeing the Forest for the Trees

It is times like this that I have to remind myself (sometimes with a nudge from a friend or peer) to look at the big picture. Think about accomplishments. Remember, like always, this too shall pass.

Sometimes I meditate and pray to sort things out. This time I may put pencil to paper and resort to Ben Franklin’s decision method by listing the pros and cons of doing what I’m doing and putting things in perspective in order to rein in the chaotic jumble in my mind. It’s also productive, when I stop and breath and let myself relax a little, to remember to think of positive results – anything at all to balance out the negative forces challenging my resolve. There is a lot going on and if I get too bogged down in the small stuff, the big picture gets fuzzy.

Yep, I think I’ll get through this ok and soon settle back in to the peaceful <ahem> rhythm that is usually my life. Really if you think about it, if there wasn’t a little excitement and challenge in it, why would I even bother to begin with? Overcoming adversity builds character, right? Easy’s no fun. And I do love a challenge!

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Written By

Lisa sells residential real estate in the Pocono Mountains of Northeastern PA, and authors The Poconos Real Estate Blog. Being a strong believer in community participation, she currently serves as President of a 1700 home Property Owners' Association and Secretary of the Board of the local REALTOR Association for 2009. Her most challenging and fulfilling role, though, is that of Mom to two teenage girls, and her main hope for them is that they learn to appreciate the abundant joys of a life lived with a positive attitude. You can connect with Lisa on Twitter, Facebook and/or LinkedIn.



  1. Steve Simon

    December 2, 2008 at 10:27 am

    I agree with most of your post except:
    Overcoming adversity builds character…
    I am of the opinion it reveals character not builds it.

  2. Missy Caulk

    December 2, 2008 at 3:56 pm

    Lisa,I had to cut back on everything I wasn’t passionate about 2 years ago. It really helped. Being the the Ann Arbor Area Board of Realtors, and Chair of MLS is enough. Now my team leader wants me to be on some leadership team, I just don’t want to get involved right now. Yea, I’ve told him….

    He still thinks he needs me. (((ugh)))

  3. Lisa Sanderson

    December 2, 2008 at 5:11 pm

    Steve: You’re probably right.

    Missy: My problem is that I love it all. I think it’s a disease. (and he probably *does* need you!)

  4. Joel McDonald

    December 2, 2008 at 6:50 pm

    “My problem is that I love it all.”

    My philosophy is “When you love what you do, you never work a day in your life.” You’re making a big difference, and sometimes that’s all you have to get you through rough spots…

    Tis the season to watch “It’s a Wonderful Life”. Here’s hoping you can watch it under a warm blanket, and start tomorrow with a better vantage point.

  5. Todd Tarson

    December 3, 2008 at 10:22 am

    Lisa… keep up the good work. Our industry needs quality and motivated leaders now more than ever. You won’t get the credit you deserve, but in the end you will make a difference.

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