Happy International Volunteers Day!

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Today I will be featured on a UN Online Volunteering newsletter and I got my first opportunity to be a TV program guest (unfortunately, a big client's work made me turn down the offer). I have been an active volunteer since 2010; volunteering for Red Cross, PEOI educational institute, Toastmasters, Catchafire partners and UN registered partner organizations.

image: breakyourjourney.com

Volunteering is all about having a positive impact on your community by giving your expertise and part of your time for free. And your community can be a global one, like mine. There is a special joy that comes from creating value without wanting anything in return, it's one of the truest way to connecting with your human side. It's the biggest difference between being a corporate tool and a soulful human. When people can depend on you because of your word and passion; not because there's an obvious gain for you that is compelling you do what they expect. 

Volunteering creates positive change and lasting relationships among people. It's the easiest way for introverts like me to network and be social. I get to pick a behind-the-spotlight role and fill a gap most people don't enjoy filling. I work remotely with teams spread across the globe and get mentioned in places I have never been (see one here). While it's afternoon here, it's morning for one team member and night for another. Setting up a meeting is no small task.

I have gotten more useful and practical knowledge by volunteering than I have from paid training classes. Nothing can take the place of working on a live project: one with deadlines, real people and someone else's money at risk. You stop worrying about whether you are skilled enough and start worrying about all you can do to make things work; every skill you have matters and can make the difference, even the skill you never thought very useful. And you learn to work with other people. People with volunteering experience make the finest colleagues at work and great team mates. They are tolerant and hard working. Volunteering is as much a test of tolerance as you ability to work effectively without pay. You work hard for no pay and have to respect others you are working with who are also working hard for no pay. Then you are all focused on seeing results because it's the only tangible outcome of your efforts. When you are volunteering you don't pretend to work. Unlike in a paid job, you'll gain nothing and lose time when you pretend to work. As a volunteer you fill each volunteer time with valuable work. You don't want to waste time for nothing. Volunteering is the easiest way to know your worth and add instant value.

You can also be a volunteer and have a positive impact on your community. Join a rotary club or toastmasters club or your community development club, and play an active unpaid role. Register as a UN online volunteer and do projects that positively impact lives in other countries. Celebrate today by becoming a volunteer too.


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