Giving back doesn't have to mean just in the advertising and marketing world. You can really choose just about anything. In life, sometimes we forget how lucky we are and giving your time to help others keeps you grounded (not to mention it looks great on your resume). I want to focus in on a very personal example in my own life.
Last year I did my first triathlon with Team in Training which is a group that trains people at all levels for endurance races in order to raise money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (LLS). All the money raised for this organization goes towards research and support for those suffering with blood cancers. Now I am sure you are saying, doing a triathlon just sounds crazy, why wouldn't I just volunteer and raise money outside of committing myself to a crazy race like this? There are a million reasons, but for sake of time, I will sum it up for you in three reasons.
Feel Good Mentally
The whole goal of the organization is to raise awareness and most importantly, money to fund research and support for patients suffering from blood cancers, so clearly you are going to feel good about that . Beyond that though, you get the constant reminder that life is short, especially because so many patients are so young, they have barely begun their lives. It makes you think twice about how you spend your time and how precious the relationships in your life really are. It gives you some sense of being part of the team that is winning the battle against a horrible disease that makes life hard for so many others. Skills gained: teamwork and compassion.
Feel Good Physically
You are physically training for a 'sport' so your body begins to get in pretty darn good shape. You will naturally begin to have more energy and eat healthier without even trying. I have always been an active persona and healthy eater, but this level of event really takes it up a notch. Your body is working so many different muscles due to the 3 different events (swimming, biking, running) that you really get in all around great shape! Prepare to be way too happy. Skills gained: Discipline and Determination.
At the end of the day, you have a ton of fun! You get to meet so many new and warm people. There will be lots of bonding over hard workouts, hot days and even over a beer or coffee once in a while. When people are all embarking on a journey together, you will find that having fun is a natural part of it. Laughing fits, hugs and smiles galore...you will make so many great friends, it will amaze you. Not only that , but keep in mind that it can often be a "small" world and you will quickly find it as networking opportunity as well! The person swimming, biking and running next to you could also be your new mentor or your next boss!
So get out there and join an organization that gets you physically and mentally involved. It will not only lead to making new friends, but possibly future colleagues as well. Let's not forget that creativity comes in all forms and sometimes, getting out of the office is the best medicine. Clearing your head and going for a swim, can give free your mind and open it for new experiences.
About the Author
As the senior marketing analyst at Yahoo, Sarah is responsible for the implementation of audience-centric research solutions, including 'mom research' and insights around women & CPG more generally. Prior to joining Yahoo!, Sarah has been involved in the digital industry for several years, with experience not only on the publisher side but also on the digital agency side; strategizing with the likes of MediaCom and Carat on their audience segmentation analysis. Sarah holds a Bachelor's degree in Advertising & Marketing from Drake University and currently resides in New York City. She also holds prominent positions in industry organizations such as The Ad Club of New York and Advertising Women of New York (AWNY).