My lesson in generosity

This Is My Brave Fundraiser Jenn here. I never imagined I'd be leading (with a brilliant partner), a not-for-profit organization. In a million years. Never thought my job would entail continuously asking for people to invest in me and my organization's mission. But people change. Let me take you back ten years ago. Before I fully understood generosity.

I was working in sales and was pretty darn good at it. Anyone who works in sales knows that you have to enjoy competition to succeed in the field. Either that, or you thrive on the praise of your clients and manager and boss, but let's be real here: people get into sales because of the prospect of making good money. Work hard, the commissions follow.

I did just that. I put in long hours and the more sales I closed, the more money I took home. It was like I got high off of chasing commission and snatching it, pocketing all that hard work. At the time when my mental illness crashed through the surface of what was my life as a hot-shot recruiter, I was earning what many would consider a really decent living for a 26-yr old.

But nothing is more valuable than your health, and given the severity of my illness, I was forced to resign from a career in which I excelled in order to focus on getting well.

2006 was the longest, hardest, most isolated period of time I have ever experienced in my life. It changed me. In more ways than I realized at the time.

You see, back then I had the mentality of scarcity when it came to my income. My instinct told me to save, to squirrel it away for the future. I was too busy working so hard and chasing the next commission check to ever realize how good it feels to give it away to a cause that needs it. I didn't do it that often.

One of the many things I figured out once I emerged from the place of cold, desolate depression and creeping anxiety which choked me with fear most days in 2006, was that it feels good to give back. Once I got well and was steady on my recovery journey, I started sharing my story via my blog. Then, I became involved in several mental health advocacy groups which I admire deeply for their work: American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and Postpartum Progress. Their programs helped me heal. I joined their advocacy events and led fundraising teams to donate money for the amazing work they do to help save lives and raise awareness.

Whether it's making a donation to a charity that speaks to my heart, contributing to a friend's charity event, or reading a story of a stranger's tragedy and clicking through to give something that could go towards helping lift them up. I've learned the lesson my dad has been teaching me my entire life, a lesson in gratitude: "You can't take it with you when you go." So these days I'm making the most of what I have to give, and it feels good. I immediately connected to this song, “Trailer Hitch” by Kristian Bush. I hope you will too.


Speaking of that Emerson quote, only 25 days left in our major fundraising campaign.

Click here to donate today. Thank you so much for your gift.