Monday, October 7, 2013

Do Something Different - Volunteer!

We are all at different stages in our lives, but I believe that learning should be a life-long habit no matter the stage or age. "Do Something Different" is my personal mantra to explore and create a richer, more rewarding life. The saying goes, "you can't get a different result by doing the same thing", so this is my challenge to you - join me and do something different.  My "do something different" was to get out of my comfort zone at work, and I did just that a few years ago by taking a leap and volunteering for a board position with a professional women's organization. I had no idea what I was getting myself into, but the result was a wonderful surprise: I won the election, developed new skills to add to my resume, and gained new friends and colleagues I can now call on.

If you decide to take this challenge, here are some things to consider:
  • Set expectations for what you can do - never over promise and under deliver.
  • For those new to volunteering - take it slow - don't leap in for president until you know the organization and its culture. Take an administrative role to learn the logistics (and politics) of the organization.
  • Bring your talents to the role but also stretch to learn something new.
  • Talk with your manager about your volunteer position - you will need her support to be fully engaged.
  • Know the benefits of why you are volunteering and how it will enhance your skills.
  • Relationships are the keys to success - make solid connections and demonstrate your skills and talents. Not only will you have a network to call on but also built in references.
 Stacey Young Rivers
Assess your bandwidth before jumping in. While you  have the ability to wow your new colleagues, likewise, you can bomb miserably if you are not careful. Be self-aware, and only take on what you can handle. Communicate often if you will not meet deadlines and make a contingency plan to keep the project/event on track. Everyone knows "life happens", but it’s how you handle it that counts.

So, get out of your comfort zone - this is an opportunity to do something different and really see what you can accomplish.