Do volunteer managers possess an enviable set of mad life skills? Should we share those finely honed skills with a world looking for self-help?
Hmmmm. So I’m thinking, we could advertise an immersion self-help experience by inviting people to come manage volunteers with us for a week, kinda like a “psyche boot camp.” Maybe we could even make a bit of money on the side.
I can see the advertisement now: “Volunteer Manager Life Lesson Boot Camp-We’ll Give You a Psychological Boot in the Psyche.”
So how exactly does volunteer management prepare us for a good productive life?
- It shows you how to find your own satisfaction: You will learn to not expect praise for every little thing even though the job may be harder than anyone knows and it’s never a 9 to 5 job. (Kinda like the skills needed to raise a family.)
- It shows you how to stifle envy and look at the world in terms of concepts bigger than your ego: You will learn to experience personal gratification from others’ successes and take pride in seeing others’ soar. (Kinda like the skills needed to function well in society.)
- It teaches you patience and persistence: You will learn that amazing projects take a long long long time and an unbelievable amount of hard work, even though people may want results immediately. (Kinda like the skills needed to build a wonderful and fulfilling life.)
- It teaches you that not everything is as it appears: You will learn that circumstances are unique and can surprise, delight and disappoint you, but won’t deter you from carrying on and being optimistic. (Kinda like skillfully finding personal happiness from within, not from without.)
- It teaches you that people are complex, amazing creatures: You will learn to look deeply at people and not just at their surface persona.(Kinda like the skills of great leaders.)
- It teaches you that being a martyr is a waste of time: You will learn that if you make it look easy, everyone will think it’s easy and that overextending yourself just brings stress. (Kinda like finding the skills of self-care in order to be at your best.)
- It teaches you to negotiate like a champion: You will learn to mediate and resolve issues in a respectful, productive manner. (Kinda like the skills you need to navigate buying a car or resolving issues with a neighbor.)
- It teaches you that passion is infectious: You will learn to channel your inner enthusiasm while inviting others to join in. (Kinda like the skills needed to find a circle of friends and to be involved in your community.)
- It teaches you critical thinking: You will learn to analyze situations and resolve problems quickly and efficiently. (Kinda like the skills needed in life.)
- It teaches you compassion and empathy: You will learn active listening skills and the ability to truly empathize with people of all walks of life. (Kinda like the skills needed to be a good person.)
These are just 10 of the life skills volunteer managers possess. In order to be a success at our jobs, we must adopt many skill sets that actually help us navigate our own lives. Luckily for us, these skills also make us better people.