“Remember that the happiest people are not those getting more, but those giving more.” H. Jackson Brown, Jr. Author of Life’s Little Instruction Book
Happy, successful people know the power of volunteerism. They understand that serving others brings balance to your life. The ability to freely share your skills, lessons, abilities, talents, gifts and passions with those around you provides many benefits to the giver as well as the receiver.
And you are in the best position you can be to share of yourself. Unlike those who are still trying to finish school, raise a family or build a career, at this later stage in life you are more likely to have the time to give. And, in fact, you are better equipped at this time than at any other, to draw upon a lifetime of knowledge, skills and experiences. Even if it’s just taping off a window frame in preparation for painting a room, wielding a hammer or serving a meal, you’ve been there many times before, and, therefore, you have become a pro.
The greatest benefit of this sharing of yourself is the positive impact you can have on the lives of others. You might be providing them with a service that will help them get through the next day or week. Or a skill, an idea or a belief that you impart might carry them through a lifetime. Whatever the assistance you provided, people will certainly find themselves in a better place because of you.
And the benefits to you? Here are just a few:
- Keeps you connected to your community and to others.
- Helps you stay mentally and physically healthy.
- Gives you the opportunity to learn new skills.
- Improves your self-esteem.
- Wards off depression and loneliness.
- Allows you to exercise a passion.
For me, one of best benefits of volunteering is that you learn from those you serve and discover a deeper understanding of yourself.
You might be asking yourself: “How do I get started?” Here are five easy steps you can follow:
- Pick a cause: Think about issues you are passionate about. Make a list if there is more than one and consider which one of those really gets your juices flowing. Then pick the one you could see yourself pursuing.
- Analyze yourself: Create a list of your talents, skills and areas of expertise that would benefit this organization.
- Research your opportunities: Look into what specific places would be most in need of your skill set. Here are three websites to browse to help you get started:
NationalService.gov (particularly the Senior Corps opportunity for those 55+)
- Contact organizations: Begin to reach out to the organizations you have researched and selected and begin a dialog. Have in hand the list you created of what you can do for them.
- Dig in: Get busy working, having fun and making a difference.
Organizations in your area would welcome a seasoned, experienced and gifted individual like yourself to offer up your time and talents. To make it even more fun, ask a friend or two to join you. Together you can have a greater impact in your community and on the lives of others while having twice as much fun along the way.
“Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth.” Muhammad Ali
Gary A. Weuve, CFP®
Founder and CEO
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