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8 Ways Volunteering Benefits You

8 Ways Volunteering Benefits You

Whether it’s court-ordered community service, required for a class, because you feel it is your duty, or for any other reason, volunteering is an enriching experience. We know that volunteering is a chance to serve others and give back to the community, but we might not see how it affects us and our lives. I would like to propose that volunteering can be more than just dutiful work, but is in fact richly beneficial for you. Here’s how.

 1. You will learn about yourself

Investing time in serving the community will stretch you. You will experience challenging personalities and face hard problems. Volunteering is a great way to learn more about yourself in a setting that is new to you. You might learn what you like and dislike about a certain population. You may learn about how your strengths enhance a group or about areas you need to improve. We learn about ourselves constantly in every experience. Volunteering is a great way to gain insight into who you are.

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2. You will learn new skills

The great news about volunteering is that, since they aren’t paying you, most places will take just about anyone! By donating some of your time, you are able to learn and practice new skills that may otherwise take money and extra effort to learn. It may be something concrete like gardening or making coffee. It will almost always include skills that are less obvious, such as communication skills or fundraising. Volunteering is a great opporunity to perfect the skills you have and learn something new.

3. You will build your resume

A perk of volunteering is adding another valuable line to your resume. Employers like to see community involvement. Having community service on your resume says a lot about who you are. Employers like to see people who are dedicated to their community and passionate for a cause. Your resume will be extra juicy with those volunteer hours attached.

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4. You will make friends with different types of people

When you decide to volunteer for something you are passionate about, chances are the people surrounding you will share those same sentiments. Shared interests bring people together. As fellow volunteers working towards a common goal, you will start to build a unique relationship that might not be found anywhere else. Differences between people fade when hearts are exposed. These are the types of friendships that can last a lifetime.

5. You will make valuable connections

It’s not about what you know, but who you know. Connections are formed when you are involved in an agency. A great way to get your foot in the door for a job you are hoping to have one day is to volunteer in the field. You might be surprised to find that many opportunities can come from the people you meet through volunteer work. In addition, you can build professional relationships with people who could potentially recommend you for a job in the future. Volunteering offers a chance to network with the people you need to know.

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6. You will be a part of the community

Serving the community offers a sense of attachment and belonging. When we volunteer for a cause we are passionate about, when we invest our hearts in our community, they become our treasures. You are enhancing the place you call home, and you will never feel more at home than when you are putting your efforts towards making it better.

7. You will feel empowered

As adults, we have so much on our plates. There is work, family, relationships, chores, and the demands never seem to end. If you have the time, volunteering can be a great way to do something for yourself that gives you a sense of control. At most places, it is up to you how many hours you serve. You can decide to get more involved or take a step back. In addition, you will be making a difference for something that you care about. It is empowering to know that you are needed somewhere to do something important.

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 8. You will live a more passionate life

We don’t all have the dream job. We don’t all get to do what we are passionate about every day, but I do know we are all passionate about something. Volunteering is a chance to acknowledge that passion within you. When you learn new skills, you enhance yourself. When you invest in the community, you build your sense of home. When you take the time to do something you care about, it will change you. Volunteering is a chance not only to give back to others, but to give back to yourself.

Choose to volunteer for something you are interested in. There are so many ways to get involved. You can volunteer using skills like knitting, gardening, or painting. You can get involved in a cause that you are passionate about, such as fighting diseases, supporting political campaigns, or promoting international justice. Research the opportunities in your community or beyond the borders. If you have the time, it’s worth it! The life-giving power of volunteering shows us that service is just as much for us as it is for others.

Featured photo credit: DiNo via flickr.com

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Last Updated on January 21, 2020

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

Creating a vision for your life might seem like a frivolous, fantastical waste of time, but it’s not: creating a compelling vision of the life you want is actually one of the most effective strategies for achieving the life of your dreams. Perhaps the best way to look at the concept of a life vision is as a compass to help guide you to take the best actions and make the right choices that help propel you toward your best life.

your vision of where or who you want to be is the greatest asset you have

    Why You Need a Vision

    Experts and life success stories support the idea that with a vision in mind, you are more likely to succeed far beyond what you could otherwise achieve without a clear vision. Think of crafting your life vision as mapping a path to your personal and professional dreams. Life satisfaction and personal happiness are within reach. The harsh reality is that if you don’t develop your own vision, you’ll allow other people and circumstances to direct the course of your life.

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    How to Create Your Life Vision

    Don’t expect a clear and well-defined vision overnight—envisioning your life and determining the course you will follow requires time, and reflection. You need to cultivate vision and perspective, and you also need to apply logic and planning for the practical application of your vision. Your best vision blossoms from your dreams, hopes, and aspirations. It will resonate with your values and ideals, and will generate energy and enthusiasm to help strengthen your commitment to explore the possibilities of your life.

    What Do You Want?

    The question sounds deceptively simple, but it’s often the most difficult to answer. Allowing yourself to explore your deepest desires can be very frightening. You may also not think you have the time to consider something as fanciful as what you want out of life, but it’s important to remind yourself that a life of fulfillment does not usually happen by chance, but by design.

    It’s helpful to ask some thought-provoking questions to help you discover the possibilities of what you want out of life. Consider every aspect of your life, personal and professional, tangible and intangible. Contemplate all the important areas, family and friends, career and success, health and quality of life, spiritual connection and personal growth, and don’t forget about fun and enjoyment.

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    Some tips to guide you:

    • Remember to ask why you want certain things
    • Think about what you want, not on what you don’t want.
    • Give yourself permission to dream.
    • Be creative. Consider ideas that you never thought possible.
    • Focus on your wishes, not what others expect of you.

    Some questions to start your exploration:

    • What really matters to you in life? Not what should matter, what does matter.
    • What would you like to have more of in your life?
    • Set aside money for a moment; what do you want in your career?
    • What are your secret passions and dreams?
    • What would bring more joy and happiness into your life?
    • What do you want your relationships to be like?
    • What qualities would you like to develop?
    • What are your values? What issues do you care about?
    • What are your talents? What’s special about you?
    • What would you most like to accomplish?
    • What would legacy would you like to leave behind?

    It may be helpful to write your thoughts down in a journal or creative vision board if you’re the creative type. Add your own questions, and ask others what they want out of life. Relax and make this exercise fun. You may want to set your answers aside for a while and come back to them later to see if any have changed or if you have anything to add.

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    What Would Your Best Life Look Like?

    Describe your ideal life in detail. Allow yourself to dream and imagine, and create a vivid picture. If you can’t visualize a picture, focus on how your best life would feel. If you find it difficult to envision your life 20 or 30 years from now, start with five years—even a few years into the future will give you a place to start. What you see may surprise you. Set aside preconceived notions. This is your chance to dream and fantasize.

    A few prompts to get you started:

    • What will you have accomplished already?
    • How will you feel about yourself?
    • What kind of people are in your life? How do you feel about them?
    • What does your ideal day look like?
    • Where are you? Where do you live? Think specifics, what city, state, or country, type of community, house or an apartment, style and atmosphere.
    • What would you be doing?
    • Are you with another person, a group of people, or are you by yourself?
    • How are you dressed?
    • What’s your state of mind? Happy or sad? Contented or frustrated?
    • What does your physical body look like? How do you feel about that?
    • Does your best life make you smile and make your heart sing? If it doesn’t, dig deeper, dream bigger.

    It’s important to focus on the result, or at least a way-point in your life. Don’t think about the process for getting there yet—that’s the next stepGive yourself permission to revisit this vision every day, even if only for a few minutes. Keep your vision alive and in the front of your mind.

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    Plan Backwards

    It may sound counter-intuitive to plan backwards rather than forwards, but when you’re planning your life from the end result, it’s often more useful to consider the last step and work your way back to the first. This is actually a valuable and practical strategy for making your vision a reality.

    • What’s the last thing that would’ve had to happen to achieve your best life?
    • What’s the most important choice you would’ve had to make?
    • What would you have needed to learn along the way?
    • What important actions would you have had to take?
    • What beliefs would you have needed to change?
    • What habits or behaviors would you have had to cultivate?
    • What type of support would you have had to enlist?
    • How long will it have taken you to realize your best life?
    • What steps or milestones would you have needed to reach along the way?

    Now it’s time to think about your first step, and the next step after that. Ponder the gap between where you are now and where you want to be in the future. It may seem impossible, but it’s quite achievable if you take it step-by-step.

    It’s important to revisit this vision from time to time. Don’t be surprised if your answers to the questions, your technicolor vision, and the resulting plans change. That can actually be a very good thing; as you change in unforeseeable ways, the best life you envision will change as well. For now, it’s important to use the process, create your vision, and take the first step towards making that vision a reality.

    Featured photo credit: Matt Noble via unsplash.com

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