A message from Doug Worner, Partner at Conscious Collaborative.
Whether it is volunteering to help the homeless, attending a local community improvement project, or simply looking for opportunities to help others during your daily activities, research has shown this comes with many benefits. Helpguide.org lists four major benefits:
Volunteering connects you to others
Volunteering is good for your mind and body
Volunteering can advance your career
Volunteering brings fun and fulfillment to your life
Our Choice Matters
I once heard someone say that the value of our lives is not held in the abundance of his or her possessions. So many today are moving to downsize, minimize, and live a more simplistic life. In a day where it is so easy to get caught up in filling up our day, with busy schedules and lots of things to do, no wonder so many people have little time to volunteer. But if we would find ways to clear up our schedules to get out and volunteer, research shows us that the benefits are worth it. Should we work the extra hours this week, because we want to purchase some new tech gadget? Or, do we decide to use those hours to help out others instead? I postulate that in doing the latter we would end up with more fulfillment and joy in our lives.
How Do We Value What's Important?
What is more important -- investment in ourselves or investment in others?
Each of us has to answer this question individually. How we answer this question will, many times, determine our level of volunteering. In a culture that breeds self-indulgence and self-focus, it quickly becomes easy to slip into a false belief that we come first, over everyone else. It can be easy to forget that, if you are privileged enough to live in a first world country, you have things so much better than most of the rest of the world. Even the poorest of those in a first world country live better than most in third world countries. So, we have to consider where we should invest our time and energy.
For those who have never volunteered, have been too busy, or haven’t had a desire to volunteer, I challenge you with this…
All of us have passions, and if we look at those passions, we probably could find one of them that would fit somehow into a volunteer role. Take some time to think what that might be. Then, look for an opportunity where you could use this passion when volunteering. To truly help others, make an effort to try volunteering in this area, or with this organization, for at least 30 days. At the end of 30 days reevaluate how you feel about your volunteering and how it has affected you personally. Based on research, many of us would likely find ourselves in a much better situation than where we were before.
I close this article with an inspiring quote from Martin Luther King Jr., which underscores serving as motivation for all of us.