They say the best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.
With busy lives, it can be difficult to find the time to volunteer. But volunteers do not necessarily have the time; they have the heart. Volunteering is at the very core of being human, as no one has made it through life without someone else’s help. Anyone can say they care but it’s actions that speak, not words.
Volunteerism offers many benefits to help those in need, the community, and worthwhile causes. But the benefits can be even greater for you – the volunteer. It can offer opportunities for professional development and personal growth. Let’s consider a few of the potential benefits:
1. Networking Opportunities
Volunteering within, or outside of your community, allows you to meet new people. You can connect with others and your community, all while helping make it a better place. Dedicating your time as a volunteer can help you make new acquaintances, enhance your social skills, and expand your network.
2. Strengthens Skill Set
Volunteering is a great way to learn group dynamics and teamwork. It can also assist in enhancing and sharpening old skills, all essential to professional growth. Building upon skills you already have can undoubtedly benefit not only yourself but the greater community.
3. Creates Leadership
By watching and engaging with those around you, you can identify the qualities of leadership that you appreciate, and can develop or enhance those qualities in yourself. Group work not only fosters teamwork but also offers opportunities to learn about different perspectives.
4. Overall Satisfaction
Volunteering around a personal interest, as Irene Iancu and Sherry Priebe discuss in this issue, creates a sense of fulfillment. The right match can help you meet new people, reduce stress, and connect with the community (just to name a few) all while progressing your career. Simply knowing that you are making a difference in someone else’s life is a satisfying feeling that everyone should experience.
Most importantly, volunteering helps you get to know yourself. Knowing your accomplishments, interests, skills and values is the foundation of career and personal success. Volunteering is a perfect opportunity to learn more about yourself, and your potential for overall growth and development. By helping others, you can boost not only your career but your well-being and the well-being of others. When you volunteer in a role that’s right for you, everyone comes out ahead. It is a win-win situation.
Here’s a thought: start where you are, use what you have, and do what you can. Wherever you turn, you can find someone who needs you. Even if it’s one little thing, do something for which there is no pay but the privilege of doing it. Volunteering teaches us to be grateful for the things we take for granted in life, and widens our perspective on how lucky we really are.