Membership is about what you take out AND put in

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by Dana Holben

Membership. We all have one somewhere. Whether it is with an association, club or gym, we pay to belong.

But once we pay, then what? After all, what you put in affects what you get out, too.

Here’s an example. I belonged to a gym. It was a great gym and had things for my whole family. But did I use it for yoga? No. Did I use it for the great classes, as I’d originally intended? No. I didn’t get anything in return except a place for my son to go for the summer, and it wasn’t worth the money being spent year-round. If I had put more effort into going to the classes and yoga, though, I would have kept my membership.

Membership by definition is the state of belonging to or being a part of a group or an organization.

We teach our children from a young age that membership counts. We encourage membership in Little League, football, soccer, cheerleading, gymnastics, chess, Odyssey of the Mind and anything else that we think our child would want to join. But, as adults, we get busy with our jobs, family obligations, cooking, yard work and the list goes on and on, and we take for granted the memberships we possess.

Do you say, ‘Why do I pay so much for nothing?’ Look at it this way: Have you thought about what you AREN’T doing?

Yet membership—true membership—is valuable. It gives us that sense of belonging that we encourage in our children.

Are you part of an association but don’t participate? Do you think about participating at all? Do you say, “Why do I pay so much for nothing?” Look at it this way: Have you thought about what you AREN’T doing?

We all can benefit from—and be a benefit to—the organizations to which we belong. There was a reason for joining. Take time to reflect on why you are a member. Membership isn’t about just belonging; it is about being a part of something bigger than yourself as an individual. And it’s about putting something in as well.

Giving of yourself to the organizations to which you belong will give you something more than just membership; it can give you networking opportunities, friendship, professional growth opportunities, a sense of community and more.

But it is all up to you.

So, the next time you consider joining, first think, “What will I give to this organization?”

Membership is all about YOU!