Finding an extra 30 minutes in the day can be difficult enough to do. So, finding an extra 3-4 hours a week to voluntarily give away... why even consider it? With the ever-increasing social demand to work over 40 hours a week while dedicating enough time for your family and health, it's easy to see why volunteering becomes a low priority. There's just not enough time in the day for it.
Consider looking at community activism as not only a way to give back to society, but a way to invest in yourself. Community activism can be a multi-faceted tool to sharpen your personal brand by doing the following:
- Nurture passion and inspiration
- Enhance your expertise
- Experiment in a low-pressure setting
Nurture passion and inspiration. Not everyone is in a profession that they'd consider their dream job, but you don't necessarily need to be passionate about your career to be good at what you do. However, when you become so focused on your day-to-day responsibilities, you can begin losing the drive that sparks your curiosity to push yourself to keep learning and improving. Using community activism to continue feeding your inspiration will help define your professional and personal goals, and ultimately set yourself apart from your peers.
Enhance your expertise. Using your professional expertise in a capacity to benefit another organization or other individuals creates gains that are twofold. First, you can hone your day-to-day skill-set. Second, exposure to a new environment and challenges will allow you to break out from your comfort zone and develop skills you wouldn't normally be able to practice in the office. Perhaps you've been eager to improve your project management, communication, and goal-setting skills. These soft skills aren't always quantifiable and may not directly impact your daily work, but it can make all the difference when planning for future success.
Experiment in a low-pressure setting. As you nurture your inspiration and enhance your skill-set, you'll need a trial and error period. It's like putting your personal brand in a beta phase - test it out in an environment where it won't be sticky. In an office setting, trying this out might end up with you being labeled forever, for example, as a micro-manager. By trying out new processes or project management techniques, you can find out what works and what doesn't. And by working with other volunteers with whom you've created genuine connections, you can receive valuable constructive feedback.
Feel free to reach out if you have specific questions with regards to this blog.