Personal growth doesn’t just happen when we’re being trained, learning something new, or having a new type of experience. In situations where we give of ourselves unconditionally with love, with no expectations, we strengthen our character, raise our self-image, and positively contribute to our community. Here’s how to make volunteering work for you:
This week, I’m doing volunteer work for the CNIB (Canadian National Institute for the Blind), working on a door-to-door campaign to raise money. Volunteering can be much more enjoyable when you do it with friends. I’m doing the CNIB campaign with a good friend of mine who I don’t get to see very often. Now, we both get to volunteer and spend time with each other! When you volunteer with a friend or family member, no matter how mundane or uncomfortable the volunteering may seem, you’ll have someone close to share it with. And, you will have helped that particularly organization twofold!
2. Save Time - Do it with your company
You may be thinking that you’re too busy to do any volunteer work. However, you may be the owner of a small business or work in a small company. I’m also in discussions with the CNIB about volunteering my speaking services and workshops. What about volunteering some of your company’s services? For example, if you design web sites, why not volunteer to design a site for a local charity? The value the charity receives (retail) is greater than the value you invest (your labor). Remember, there’s always a way to make a difference.
How do you find a volunteer opportunity that excites you? Think of the kinds of people you like. Think about who you like to hang around. Then, think of communities who have those kinds of people. When volunteering, it’s not so much what you will be physically doing - honestly, many volunteer functions have remedial and boring tasks. However, what will make the experience exciting and worthwhile, is to have people working with you that you can relate to, appreciate, and befriend. A great conversation can transform a remedial task into a fulfilling experience.
4. Make it Valuable - Learn and discover
Volunteering can also open a world of new possibilities. I didn’t have a chance to be with any my grandparents. Working with the elderly helps me to capture that unique kind of relationship. I never would have dreamed of planting trees, until I volunteered for the task. Even though I will probably never directly use that experience in my professional life, a diversity of experiences always helps to create a well-rounded personality. Wait a minute! I am using the tree-planting example in this writing, so I am using it in my career! You never know when something will come in handy. :)
5. Feel the Fear - And do it anyway!
Volunteering for the first time can be scary. Volunteering for something new can feel awkward. Yet, these are the situations that get us to stretch outside of our comfort zone. And that’s the reason volunteering falls into the paradigm of personal growth!
Let's love the world together...
[)anish /|hmed, blind visionary
P.S. Not ready to volunteer? Try giving in seven different ways!!