Benefits of Volunteering

3 years ago I was asked to be a trustee for a local charity. At the time I could only commit one afternoon a month, it hardly seemed enough, but the charity assured me it was making a difference. The charity is called Square Pegs Charity who provide a creativity and well- being hub in the heart of our local town, giving local people the space and time to connect while doing crafting, creative writing and other similar activities. Their aim is to provide a space where everyone is accepted and included without judgement, breaking what can be a vicious cycle of isolation for many.

What I didn’t know when I set out on this journey was how much the charity would give back to me.

I thought I was there to add value and give them my time, wisdom and skills. And whilst I know that is of value they have taught me so much more.

You know that old saying, that it is often easier to solve other people’s problems than it is to solve your own. As I observed, asked questions and supported this charity, I found myself asking them questions that I needed to ask myself.

This particular charity focuses on creativity, doing things with your hands while chatting. I discovered that I was actually quite self conscious, of my creative skills and I had a fear of wasting money/materials and therefore avoided trying anything. But my role when volunteering was to encourage members to have a go and so I had to have a go.

I wasn’t even aware I had this belief that I can’t try as it will cost me money if I mess up. However, since changing this mindset I have become less fearful about learning new things or having a go in business. I have become more confident in trying new things particularly around technology and I have been having great fun creating at home. I even painted some furniture at home. I am actually quite creative, but I had switched that off because I had to do it in my own time and with my own money; I made decisions on cost not pleasure.

The centre also means I am mixing with members of my community I would not have usually met. They come from all walks of life and some of their situations are heart breaking but their skills, talents and compassion for each other blows me away every time. They have very little and yet will give what they have to support someone else. Seeing how difficult it is for some people helps me put my own fears and concerns in perspective. The members and the volunteers really give a lot and they do it because they can and not to get paid. It really helped me readdress my core values and what really mattered to me.

You should take money out of the equation and really look at the core values of a business, as these values are what drives it. A charity is always driven by their purpose not the profit. Yes, they need money to pay for their overhead and fund projects but their main purpose for existing is not profit.

It really teaches you to value your own time and money. It made me want to earn more so that I could give more, for example, I have been really focused on my business goals which in turn allows me to be a monthly sponsor for the charity. You see, in the past if I didn’t do much business one month it was usually just me that suffered. If I don’t do well now then it is my wider community that is impacted.

I do believe that charity starts at home and you do need to look after yourself but if you can spare even a few hours to spend time supporting a good cause you will get far more back than you give. You can help me to help them in two ways:

1. Send me an email to Sheryl@stepbysteplistening.com and pledge to sponsor me for my sponsored slim which will then give you access to my Facebook mastermind group where I will share with you how I am achieving my success. Great if you keep saying you want to lose weight.

2. Improve your decision making and time management skills by joining the Do, delegate or ditch charity mastermind for June, July and August where all the proceeds are going to the charity and you get a life time access to my on line Do, Delegate or Ditch library that is currently being built.

Step by Step Listening 

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