The Volunteer Effect

In the jobs and volunteer roles that I have had I’ve noticed a definite shift in various aspects of my life and the lives of those around me. We don’t always realise how much things have changed until you just stop for a second and reflect on the years gone by! I’ve spent my weekend off thinking about all the things that have made me who I am today. A lot of these changes have come in the last few years and I’m sure they’re going to have a huge impact on my life from here on out.

A lot of these changes came about after I started to volunteer and since I started, I’ve felt a definite shift to the positive for various reasons. I wrote a blog on my LinkedIn profile about the benefits of volunteering recently, you can have a read here.
The benefits that I’ve written about in that blog are due to the Volunteer Effect. Volunteering effects people in different ways. For some, like myself, it has a profound effect on everything that I do.

The volunteer effect has made me consider the people around me before I do things. Even the little things, like whether or not I wash up, or what kind of food I eat in the office (I try not to eat overly smelly food!).

I was a very different person years ago, I was rude, obnoxious and generally not a very nice person. This is going back to secondary school. Some people say it was just a phase of teenage years and that’s fine. A lot of teenagers act out, but I don’t feel like I should have used it as an excuse. Between 2008 and 2012, after leaving my secondary school, I endeavoured to change who I was for the better. Stop stropping, be nicer and less of a drag on the people around me.

It’s only when I started to volunteer after dropping out of uni did I feel like I was succeeding. Not only were my decisions affected, my mood improved and I was excited to do stuff. All kinds of stuff, whether it was voluntary, work, social, everything seemed better. Despite volunteering for causes which were shocking, unjust and heart breaking the main thing that helped me see things differently were the people I met along the way. All these people working their arses off to help and I could see the smiles on their faces while they were doing it.

The Volunteer Effect for me is hard to describe with words, it’s benefiting me in so many ways (which I believe is best described in my LinkedIn post above) while I’m benefiting others and hopefully they go on to pay it forward. For me, the Volunteer Effect is simple, it’s a chain reaction of good. To finish, have a little look see at the image below. This, to me really embodies what volunteers do for the world. They want to make people happy. It’s just a bonus that it usually makes them happy too.

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