Pro Bono (I) – Commitment

More than ten years ago I went through a selection process to become a priest in the Church of England. It was decided that after training I would become a full time priest and receive a full time salary. More than ten years later and I have just started to receive a salary. And between selection and now I have worked full time, at my own cost. Pro Bono. Like any job it can be very pressured and I regularly get this advice from friends during pressured times:“You’re a volunteer! Just don’t do it!” Why?! I don’t get it. Like most people, what I do is not driven by a direct connection between money and task, although obviously having absolutely no money would bring everything to an end. As a professional, as a person, why would I NOT follow through on a carefully considered commitment? Howard Marshall in his great book Triggers (my best book of the year so far) put it this way:

“Pro Bono is an adjective, not an excuse. If you think that doing folks a favor justifies doing less than your best, you’re not doing anyone any favors, including yourself. People forget your promise, remember your performance. It’s like a restaurant donating food to a homeless shelter, but delivering self-dated leftovers and scraps that hungry people can barely swallow. The restaurant owner thinks he’s being generous, that any donation is better than nothing Better than nothing is not even close to good enough – and good enough, after we make a promise, is never good enough.”

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