A job that pays the bills but doesn’t feed the soul—I wish I could take credit for such beautiful (and spot-on) words, but this inspiration comes from Gail Anderson of Giving Back With Gail. Gail’s life’s purpose is to give back and be a beneficial presence on the planet. She has spent countless hours of volunteering, and wants to inspire you to find what drives you, what fills your soul, and to give back a little of that magic to the world along the way.
Tell us a little about yourself and the road that led you to starting Giving Back With Gail. You’ve given so much of your time to volunteer work, what has driven to this work and what do you love about it?
I’m a creative spirit whose life’s purpose is giving back and being a beneficial presence on the planet. I’m a documentary filmmaker, writer, entrepreneur and philanthropist. Nothing makes me happier than when I’m volunteering and giving back.
TAKE A LOOK AT WHAT YOU WANT TO ACCOMPLISH AND THEN TAKE IT ON IN SMALL BITES. YOU’LL STILL BE PRODUCTIVE. YOU JUST WON’T FEEL SO OVERWHELMED. EQUALLY IMPORTANT, BE GENTLE WITH YOURSELF. YOU ARE DOING THE BEST YOU CAN WITH WHAT YOU HAVE. THAT IS MORE THAN ENOUGH. DON’T FORGET TO BREATHE AND ENJOY THE JOURNEY.
Like many people today, I have had several career paths and professional iterations. It’s amazing how much fear of the unknown and the desire to pay rent (all valid concerns, by the way) lead us to shelve the things that speak to our hearts. After working in yet another job that paid my bills but didn’t feed my soul, I decided to sit down and really reflect on what was next in my life’s journey.
Over the years, I’d often said that I would be happiest if I could make a living by volunteering. I’d say it and then laugh it off because it seemed impossible. Then during my reflection I thought, “What would my life look like if I didn’t think that it was impossible? What could manifest if I looked at it from a place of possibilities?” A week later, Giving Back With Gail was born.
I started an Instagram page as a toe in the water and began to set up my plans for the future. Every time someone chose to follow me and/or comment on a post, it was a wonderful affirmation that I was going in the right direction. I look forward to posting a connection to giving back (quotes, photos, etc.) each and every day. I’m grateful to share my love of service with the world.
What was the biggest obstacle to starting Giving Back With Gail?
The biggest obstacle for me has been me. I am certain of my passion and purpose but I’m not as certain of how to best make this venture work. I had to remind myself that I’m a serial entrepreneur and just like my other ventures, as long as I hold onto my focus and do my part, a way will be made, mentors will be revealed and help will be provided.
What is the most exciting part of this adventure?
The most exciting part has been the amount of support that I’ve received. It’s not easy to tell people that I have a crazy idea of using service to change the world. But I’m so happy that I did. In addition to that, it’s exciting to ride this ride with other do-gooders on the planet. My Instagram page has connected me with so many wonderful people doing good works on the planet. I’m reminded every day that there is good in the world and affirmed that there’s power in speaking your truth and following your heart.
What do you see in the future for Giving Back With Gail, and how will you get there?
I see Giving Back With Gail as a movement for good. The future consists of inspiring the world through service with a social media base, blog, website, volunteer workshops and a documentary-based television show highlighting organizations doing good around the world. As far as how I’ll get there, the initial components are coming together thanks to friends who are helping me with my website and merchandising. I’m also networking each and every day to connect with likeminded entrepreneurs who, like me, are creating businesses in service to good. It’s a wonderfully fulfilling, joy-filled, purposeful work in progress.
What the best piece of advice for women who are interested in starting a business? Also, for everyone who wants to volunteer, what’s the best way to get involved?
First and foremost, I’d say congrats to anyone who is taking the jump to live the life that they want to live. Secondly, I’d say take it on in small bites. If you are anything like me (Type A, juggling lots of balls and wanting everything to happen as soon as possible), you’ll eventually feel overwhelmed by the weight of your vision. That’s ok. Just acknowledge the feeling but don’t let it stop you. Take a look at what you want to accomplish and then take it on in small bites. You’ll still be productive. You just won’t feel so overwhelmed. Equally important, be gentle with yourself. You are doing the best you can with what you have. That is more than enough. Don’t forget to breathe and enjoy the journey.
And if you are looking for a way to volunteer there are lots of organizations that can provide you with opportunities. We are lucky to live in the time of Google. You can literally type in volunteering and the city that you are in, and options pop up. And if you are still not sure where and how to volunteer, I LOVE helping people find their way in service. Feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or DM me on Instagram @givingbackwithgail. I truly believe that together we can change the world through service.