Jack Canfield’s Success Principle #62
When we volunteer, we receive far more than we give. We find inner joy by serving others, as well as some other benefits that Jack identifies.
Volunteerism pays off.
Research on volunteerism shows that people who give their time to others live longer, have stronger immune systems, suffer fewer heart attacks, recover more quickly from heart attacks, have higher self-esteem, and enjoy a deeper sense of purpose than people who don’t volunteer.
People who volunteer when they’re young are more likely to end up in higher-paying jobs than their counterparts. Employers report that they often look to see if job candidates have engaged in volunteer work before hiring them. In addition, networking during volunteer time frequently leads to unexpected career opportunities.
By volunteering, we can learn success skills that we wouldn’t ordinarily acquire. Some employers, such as SAFECO and Pillsbury, actually build volunteerism into their employee development programs.
For many years, I volunteered at our public and school libraries. Without realizing it, I was preparing myself for a great deal of the research that I now do as a writer.
Volunteer to match your purpose.
When we volunteer, it’s important to serve people we feel passionate about. I have very little in common with basketball players, so volunteering to help with a youth basketball team wouldn’t do much for me or the kids.
I love to sew, therefore I volunteer my time to lead a quilting group at my church. We give the finished quilts to terminally ill patients at the hospital. Our group uses Scripture from 2 Corinthians 1:3-5 (NIV) to encourage patients and their families:
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows.
For those of us who have survived incest, abuse, or trauma, there are countless opportunities to help others who have been victims. Sometimes, it’s hard to understand why God allowed us to suffer as we did. But by serving other survivors, we can bring some sense to our own pain. We can look at our experiences as preparation for helping others to thrive. By learning to share the comfort that we have already received from God, we bring meaning to our own suffering.
How much time should we volunteer?
We were members of Southeast Christian Church while Joe was attending seminary. Their slogan for personal growth was 1-1-1: one hour of worship, one hour of Bible study, and one hour of service per week. This was suggested as a starting place for new members. Remember from yesterday’s lesson that we should ideally be giving ten percent of our time, as well as our money to others in need.
There are many nonprofit organizations that can use your skills. Make a list of people you would enjoy helping, places you would like to serve, and skills that you can offer. Figure out how to serve for just one hour this week, and build your volunteerism from there.