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Have you ever needed assistance in your adult life? Maybe with physical labor like moving or perhaps even financially, to help get going again after a storm in your personal life? We all need help from time to time whether we ask for it or that extra love seems to come miraculously just t the right time. And if you cannot admit this, or won’t, you are probably in denial, too proud or not being honest with yourself. However, that is not the point here; I’m simply trying to get you to acknowledge you have received help from time to time as a segway into suggesting just how important helping others is and reminding you the most selfish part of a selfless act.

Rather than wait for the right opportunity, I have found it is best to be proactive in seeking regular service to others with a focus on strangers. Sometimes, it can be challenging to set aside time in our busy lives to volunteer; however, with the right mindset, serving others regularly will add incredible value to multiple lives, including your own!  So, while the importance is giving (selfless), the bonus is receiving (selfish), but none of this occurs without first committing, then honoring. In other words, you have to consciously decide to get involved, then find the situations to assist with, making a plan to actually give the time and energy, and then you will almost always leave an event feeling great and in good spirits. Not only does volunteering provide critical help to those in need, but it will also provide many unexpected benefits to the volunteer. Below I’ll dive into the many positive impacts of volunteering and how you can find the best way to serve your community.

Here are some helpful suggestions gathering from what I have learned from mentors, books, and actual experience. First, look at yourself and assess what are your gifts; what are you good at,  are you personable, are you physically strong, a good cook? Second, when you serve, make a commitment, show up, and have the right attitude, as in be positive, be helpful, be of light. Third, when you are finished and leaving, quiet your mind and think about what happened, what you just experienced, the location, the people, the content around you. Reflecting on your own situation may help you to gain perspective and perhaps even come to the realization that your life issues are not as bad as you thought.

Additionally, I have learned that starting local and being consistent are two critical components to giving and receiving from service work. The component of being regular is very important and cannot be understated as much of the benefits from serving others come over time and not just one time here or there. Another key component is come to whatever you are volunteering to do with a good attitude being humble and ready to put forth an effort. If you do this, you will ultimately be able to see yourself in others, which is critical to personal growth. If you just show up, you are surely missing out on both sides of the equation; giving and receiving.

“The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away.” Pablo Picasso.