Going to Detroit for a weekend long service trip was something I viewed as a group of college students going to help a less fortunate community. I had the idea in my head of us going and bettering the lives of others, and looking back on that now, I realize how selfish that thinking was.
Of course, the service aspects of the trip that we partook in were beneficial, like working with the Cass Community Social Services and with the students of Jalen Rose Leadership Academy, but they were not life changing. Going somewhere for such a short amount of time makes the size of your impact minimal, and at first, this frustrated me.
Too many times do I feel as if people do mission work more for themselves and feeling good, rather than making an actual difference in the world around them. It is so easy to get caught up in the idea of “I’m helping those less fortunate than myself,” and that “I am doing this for the benefit of others,” but who are we kidding? So often we are only kidding ourselves. I am guilty of it myself, going to volunteer for a few hours, patting myself on the back, and then going on with my day not thinking twice about it. But this is not leadership.
It was not until the Vice President of Quicken Loans spoke to us as a cohort during our tour of their facilities did I discover why it was meant for me to be on that trip. He talked about how his past employment at Microsoft, and how he gave up his glamorous position to move to downtown Detroit and be at the center of the evolution of the city right there at Quicken Loans. It was this leadership that I witnessed over the course of the weekend that changed my perspective on the future.
This stuck with me then, and has ever since. He changed his lifestyle to become apart of the Detroit movement, he didn’t visit Detroit on the weekends and volunteer. He completely indulged his life and mission into the progress of Detroit. Volunteering can be used as an excuse, being satisfied with a few hours of service here and there, but never truly investing. After this trip I have found myself more motivated than ever to live a well rounded life of leadership, instead of something I pick and choose to do at my leisure. I want to emerge myself in a career where day in and day out I am working directly with something that I want to better in the world, rather than using leadership as hobby I want it to be my lifestyle.
It’s intriguing to look back on my thought process before the trip and what I believed I would get out of it, and now what I actually took away from the experience. I am so excited to continue my journey of self discovery and find our where college will take me with my major, and my career beyond, but I know now that I never want to half ass a life of leading. If you do not do something with your whole heart and an abundance of passion, what is point at all?