This morning I had the opportunity to conduct a class for a group of Drill Sergeants, their Commander and their First Sergeant. When training Soldiers you never know what is in store for you. Sometimes it's rough, sometimes it's good, sometimes it's great and sometimes it's amazing. Today was AMAZING, for me at least. I love teaching Soldiers and their Families. While I enjoy empowering Military Families, there is something about training Soldiers that really makes me happy. I taught a class on enhancing personal relationships. Now I never know how I am going to be received for annual mandated trainings. Sometimes it's met with frustration, sometimes it's met with disinterest and sometimes they are just there but not engaged.
I was met by the 1SG who remembered I was coming (a lot of times they forget!). All of the Drill Sergeants were very friendly. When one asked when I would be finished, I was slightly concerned but he just let me know that he might have to leave early. I opened up my class and had immediate feedback. I immediately felt at ease and thought to myself that this class would go well. And it did! I got responses from every single person in the room. We laughed and I got amazing engagement. I think it helped that I could relate the class to their current environment as Drill Sergeants and that I made my examples relatable to them. Kevin was a Drill Sergeant and I remember what life was like so I could share my feelings and experiences. I think it's important to make them feel like whatever you are talking about applies to them. I try hard to do that and try not to exclude anyone at the same time. It helped that they were all willing to speak up and share ideas and experiences.
So why am I sharing this with my readers? Because just a couple weeks ago I was ready to walk away completely from volunteering. I had allowed people from inside and outside some of the organizations I volunteer with to cause self-doubt in my abilities to impact others. That seems crazy doesn't it? My favorite quote ever is "No one can make you feel inferior without your consent" by Eleanor Roosevelt. I try so hard to live my life by that statement. However, I had failed. I had allowed people's comments and murmurings to get inside my head and question my strengths and break down my confidence. I'm not laying blame on those other individuals or situations, I'm saying I allowed it to happen. I am pretty good at self-evaluating and finding balance in my life. With Kevin leaving, I admit I was a bit vulnerable and allowed things to get to me that would normally never bother me. I am a confident person most times.
I shared this a bit in my class this morning, using it as an example for one of the topics we were discussing. I was surprised by the reaction. They couldn't believe I had been made to feel that way. Their reaction really opened my mind and reminded me of WHY I volunteer and WHY I enjoy what I do. It isn't to make everyone happy. It's to make me happy and to do what fulfills my life and to do what helps me achieve my personal goals.
I hope I gave those Soldiers something to think about and skills that they can apply in their lives, but what I am most grateful for from this morning's class is what I learned for myself. That's one of the greatest blessings when it comes to serving others, you often receive more than what you give.