I witnessed a celebrity sighting today and it got a little crazy.

As I was passing a playground filled with preschoolers, the garbage truck rounded the corner.  You should have seen these kids!  They went sprinting across the yard, screaming.  Then, they lined themselves up against the chain-link fence to watch the show.

As the garbage collector emptied the dumpster, they were shrieking with delight.  Once he was done, he waved and they waved back.  He shouted, “Bye!”  They all shouted, “Bye!”  As he was pulling out, he honked his horn and the crowd went wild.

It was so much fun to watch.  Here is this guy who is such a crucial part of our community getting the acknowledgement and celebration he deserves.  Can you imagine what kind of world we’d be living in without him?  I know I am incredibly grateful for his service.

And so many of us are serving the community in some way…through our work, within the organizations we belong to, in our families, etc…  But most of the time, we are not quite as lucky as the garbage collectors.

They have true fans.  I know, because I’ve spent many Friday mornings sitting in the driveway with a toddler watching his hero pick up our trash.

But where is the screaming crowd running towards US to hoot and shout our praises?  No, we have to keep showing up and serving even without the screaming fans.

The thing is, this whole human experience is an ecosystem.  We function as well (or as poorly) as we do, because of each other.  How you are serving and contributing matters.  You are important.  We need you.

I urge you to begin seeing what you do as valuable and a service to others.  Here’s what happens when you begin to believe that.

You stop focusing on yourself.  You stop thinking in terms of how successful or unsuccessful you are, how well or poorly you’re performing, how powerful or powerless you are.  None of that matters when you begin to motivate yourself with how you can help others.

Not only that, but fear becomes less of an obstacle.  After all, how selfish of us to not give to the world just because it scares us a little.  Just because we have to step outside our comfort zone and take a few risks.

And if you are looking around your life at this moment and it feels like you are really only serving yourself, how do you want to begin to use your gifts and talents to help the community?  Your life purpose was not meant to be wasted on one.  It was meant to be shared with many.  You are special.  We need you.

I wish I could promise you the kind of excitement that the garbage collector gets.  We all deserve that kind of celebration.  But once you connect with how valuable and important your service is, you won’t need celebrity status.