It was one of those Mondays when you don’t want to get out of your bed, especially when you are not employed. I still made an effort and took the train to Downtown Crossing to attend Strategic Volunteering workshop at the Work Place. I didn’t have any expectations, just signed up because I truly believe in volunteer work as to me it means not giving something away but sharing and enriching ourselves and the world around us. I was curious to see what others have to say about strategic volunteering.
The instructor Mark McCurdy (see pic), also Founder and President of http://thenonprofitcareercoach.org/, delivered an interesting presentation to 10 participants. Main idea was to follow your heart, find what you love to do and focus on it… You would say that we all know this concept as it was mentioned in many philosophical schools, religions and books like The Alchemist and The Monk who sold his Ferrari, etc. True, but the twist is that you apply this concept to volunteering, meaning – not necessary leaving your current day-time job and switching to something else right away.
Volunteering is a way to connect you with your passion, which at the end may lead you to your perfect job you just don’t know how to find yet … As often we have one idea of what we want to do but in reality it may become something different. As Tony Robbins said “Sometimes you need to lose your dreams to find your destiny”.
I also liked how Mark explained the process of finding what you love to do and implementing it, that is how to connect several elements which are
Passion+Purpose+Strategic Volunteering +Focus
Very often we only focus on passion or purpose but never connect both, never mind applying them to reality by doing volunteer work or seriously focusing on it. So here is what I got out of this workshop:
What is your passion/favorite hobby/interest or what are you good at? I like to ask questions and connect to people through conversation/story, also I’m interested in volunteering.
What community/population do you like to serve? To help unhappy lost people. Because I was depressed myself in the past, I want to help unhappy people.
How do you think you combine the two into strategic volunteering? Besides doing this blog and telling about volunteering, I may want to reach out to whole communities of depressed people and write newsletters for them about ways to get involved in volunteer work, create workshops and events for them.
Focus on what you defined - narrow your goal and be consistent… I spoke to Mark that instead of general population I should focus on non-profits and groups that support communities of depressed people/victims of depression. Mark mentioned that “Collaboration is King” (not cash anymore). He also suggested doing video/audio interviews of volunteers/non-profits for http://nptimes.com/, which is almost like TV show about volunteering world. All I have to do is to focus on these ideas and act upon them – be proactive and reach out to those organizations/communities and create samples of my work.
Imagine you were at the same workshop, what would you come up with? How many people do you know who decided to blog or do something they are very passionate about even though it was not their profession and they became very successful by eventually pursuing it?