Finding the Satisfaction I: Success Often Comes in Small Packages
The senior sage leaders find gratification at many different levels when speaking about the satisfaction and meaning they derive from their work. It could be a small success or a big success. Most importantly, they experience their work as “making a difference.” This seems to be critical and at the core of the senior sage leader experience in civic engagement.
Senior sage leaders often say they gain most satisfaction from seeing changes in the people with whom they work: a mother and father being re-united, helping someone who is homeless getting food and shelter. This sense of success is particularly poignant in the case of Habitat for Humanity. Volunteers see a single parent work hard for 600 hours in helping to build and move into her new home. The new home-owner is not just handed a gift; she works alongside volunteers in constructing it. There is a profound sense of accomplishment for both the new home-owner and the volunteer home-builders. It is these small successes that bring great satisfaction. Moreover, such successes helped to build a strong foundation for Habitat as an organization.
Finding the Satisfaction II: Seeing a Shared Dream Become a Reality
Small things amount to big results when it comes to the well-being of the community. Repeatedly senior sages note the benefit they receive from contributing in important ways to the quality of community life. In some instances, these community-wide contributions are acknowledged, but recognition and appreciation are not critical to senior sages – just nice, a sign that a vital link has been made between their organization and the community.
As with the emerging sages, senior sage leaders find it is not just a matter of being successful that is important; working with others to bring about the success is the heart of the matter. Senior sages report great heart-felt joy and gratification in working toward a shared goal with the men and women who bring differing perspectives and talents to a common cause. Furthermore, when the shared goal is achieved, it is witnessed in very tangible ways—in the accumulation of many small successes.Download Article 1K Club