The most important part about writing down your goals and planning for your future is REVISITNG your plan and goals. As a consultant I have worked on a lot of business plans for clients and it is amazing to see how invested I become in their futures by engaging in their work. I have noticed that the longer I stay away from my personal and professional goals, the less connection I have to them.
Recently I reviewed my life plan. And I want to share with you all my Volunteer Category. As you will see below, I think volunteering is a mutually beneficial opportunity for the volunteer and the organization or persons seeking assistance. At the time I drafted this section in early March everything below was true.
Purpose: To bridge resources for causes that need assistance
Outcomes: “Ashley contributed countless hours of service that assisted in building individuals self esteem, decreasing homelessness in urban cities, and redirecting youth to become social agents for community change.”
Vision: I volunteer 2-3 hours a week of my physical time on site. I volunteer my skill set 2-3 hours a week off site to help improve the sustainability of an organization. I learn about new opportunities and meet new people who help increase my perspective on the organizations I support. I complete one-time, short- term, and long- term projects. My volunteer life is secondary to my income activities and the needs of my loved ones. I will not have more than 2 volunteer projects simultaneously.
Reality: I physically volunteer about 2-3 hours a month. I volunteer about 10-15 hours a month off site to help improve the sustainability of organizations. People refer me as a volunteer for my skills and reliable reputation. I am willing to volunteer to learn new skills or enhance existing ones. I have had to cut back on my volunteering due to rising gas prices and re-prioritizing.
My current update is that I am trying to align my volunteer activities with my studies and professional experiences. I am interested in a lot of topics, but looking back at my life plan reminded me of what I made a conscious decision to become involved in. For a person like me, compassionate, always wanting to help, and easily intrigued, it is important to have a guide that allows me to know what to say “no” or “later” to.
As I was write this, I recall hearing friends and family say that they are learning to say “no” when asked to assist with certain projects.
I do not want to always say “no” but instead want to be able to say “later” or figure out a schedule that will allow me to take on an additional opportunity when the time is right. So many issues and people are correlated and sometimes you can’t learn about one without engaging with the other.
What helps you guide your volunteer choices or other decisions that dictate your time?
Below is an article that discusses why you would say “no”. It is also provides some insight on the benefits of saying “no” and offers strategies to help you do so.