This week, I was announced as one of GOOD’s 100 people who are moving the world forward. While this is certainly an honor and I was so grateful to make the list, a piece of me hesitated at receiving the recognition. Why? For me, with any recognition, I question my worthiness of it and I reflect on the perception it builds amongst those learning more about me in the context of it. Plus, it was certainly fair play for my friends who often get a little light-hearted with all my good work, and jokingly call me Saint Kate. I mean my motto is “Living by Giving”, so I get it.
As I have pondered owning this identity, I have thought a lot about why I do give. While those closest to me sometimes joke, they are also the people that know I am not perfect and nowhere near a saint. I definitely have my times of pure selfishness, intense competitiveness, shameful vanity, and straight-up fun, just like the rest of us. But that’s not the point of this post.
The point of this post is to share why giving back and helping others is so important in my life. The easy answer is: it’s the right thing to do or it just feels good. Well, let me be totally honest, it doesn’t always feel good. Sometimes it’s sad, sometimes it’s frustrating, sometimes it’s boring. But one thing giving always is for me is “real.” It is always an opportunity to feel connected, and to feel a part of my life journey as a part of something much bigger than just me.
I learned very early in life how important that connection is; I lost the core connection to life, my mom, at a very early age. And perhaps I have been on a journey ever since to gain that back. I feel grateful for this search, for this journey and for all the connection I have felt because of it.
In today’s world, we too often limit ourselves to define connection via profiles, twitter handles and screen names. I challenge you to give back and get real. It doesn’t matter if you are in the darkest days of your life or at the peak of your biggest success, go out and be a part of humanity. Do something that is about a greater good than just you. Engage in your community. Engage with kids, your peers, your elders…just engage, face to face, in real time. Don’t worry, you don’t have to give up the fun or irresponsible side of you, just balance the two.