Part of the Please don’t Volunteer – 9 part series
How to get the most from your volunteer experience
If there is one thing I know for sure, any professional-contribution™ opportunity can take as much or as little time as you want. However, what you intend and what is expected of you are two very different things. How much time do you want to commit?
How much time you commit will be dictated by your contribution objectives, and how in-line an opportunity is with your purpose. If however, you have two commitments, that meet your objectives, are in-line with your purpose, which one will take priority, and under which circumstance?
Volunteer or Professional-Contribution™
Although this may be a difficult decision, the answer is in the attitude – be it a volunteer attitude “I’ll fit it in,” or a professional-contributor attitude of, “I will follow through on my commitment.” If at an impasse, identify all contribution commitments and place each in priority based on what you value most. The analysis will assist you in making several decisions on your time allotment.
For example, when something unexpected needs your attention, do you place more value on it, or on following through on your previous commitment? Life brings us all sorts of surprises and knowing our values and priorities will allow making decisions about where we put our time into the new reality, a lot easier to allocate and with limited guilt.
Cautionary note: trying to respond to all the demands on your professional-contribution™ time could eventually breed resentment. If you are finding yourself overwhelmed, do the following:
- Pull back and re-evaluate what the motivation was for raising your hand in the first place.
- Assess what alterations are needed to get your objectives back on track.
- Proactively communicate to the president or a director, when you start to experience time creep on the commitment. Together consider, how to innovatively execute the project, adjust the due date, or reprioritize its importance.
As a professional-contributor, we need to consider who is counting on us and our commitment. We can’t always achieve all of our obligations because we only have limited visibility when we set our goals.We can’t always achieve all of our obligations because we only have limited visibility when we set our goals. #YouMeWeMovement #MyContributionCounts Click To Tweet
There is a case, however, for surrendering to time. When I was appointed to a position on a board that didn’t stimulate my enthusiasm, I accepted the opportunity for three reasons:
- I trusted that eventually investing the time would serve my objectives.
- As a member I value participation, and this was one way to serve my association.
- I felt very strongly that we had an opportunity to contribute to the community and have a profound impact collectively. I wanted to create an initiative that would have our members looking outward to the community, rather than only inward to personal and professional development.
Since I found myself in a place of service, I accepted the role on the board with no expectations of time commitment and with limited knowledge of my responsibilities. With my serve attitude, I surrendered to the experience. Well, that involvement led me deeper down the road of developing content on how to consciously-contribute, which later became the passion and focus of my life and my business. Not to mention, I met some of the most amazing people who I deeply respect and now call friends.
The point is, allocate your contribution time consciously, but allow room for new opportunities to seep in, or you may close the door on what could be a life-changing or phenomenal experience. The trick is in the balancing of how wide you leave the door open for new opportunities to explore. A professional-contributor leaves it wide enough without making it all-consuming.
What to Consider when volunteering or professionally contributing:
- How much time do I want to allocate to a contribution?
- Under what circumstance would I not meet my contribution commitments?
- When have I given more time to a contribution, and what dividends did I experience?
Thank you for joining us for weWednesdays Please don’t volunteer- 9 part series.
Until next time, make your contributions count. #YouMeWeMovement #MyContributionCounts
Join us for weWednesday – a short weekly video infusion of how to live your most meaningful life by consciously-contributing to your community, country, and beyond. Subscribe on the right to weWednesdays to receive it in your inbox, or find out more here.
Suzanne F. Stevens, Conscious-Contributor™ Cultivator
Certified Speaking Professional, (CSP)
Social entrepreneur |Professional Speaker | Host | Author | Philanthropist
Book launch coming soon: YouMeWe: lead tomorrow’s legacy today
2017 National President: Canadian Association of Professional Speakers (CAPS)
Awards: TIAW World of Difference Recipient for women economic empowering
Accreditation: Suzanne is one of 65 Certified Speaking Professionals (CSP) in Canada and is in the exclusive 15% of speakers who have this designation internationally.