A few days ago I texted a long time friend, who happens to also run a painting business, to see if I could borrow a piece of equipment. I was surprised to hear back from him that he was in Mexico on a volunteer mission to help people in need. I don't know any details about the work he is doing there, but I know that he is donating his time during peak season for his business, travelling at his expense, while leaving his young famiy at home. I shouldn't really have been surprised because my friend is involved with HeroWork and other volunteer projects in his town.
Also this past week, I attended a talk that brought out some interesting stats about vounteering that I had never heard before. So I did a little bit of research...
Turns out volunteering not only makes you happier (reduces stress, loneliness and depression) and healthier (lowers blood pressure and encourages activity), it also helps you live longer. There seems to be a link between the amount of volunteering a person does and a lower risk of mortality. And if you volunteer with the primary motive of helping others, you live even longer!
No doubt as a painter and small business owner you are very busy. Where can we find the time to regularly volunteer? Finding a cause that you are passionate about, while making a significant difference in other people's lives can motivate you to adjust your schedule. But where exactly in your schedule can you make room?
Coincidentally, this week I was chatting with my brother in law, who also runs his own painting business, and we realized that we both have been involved in some form of vounteer work on a weekly basis for a while now. The time comes out of our work week. So not only are we volunteering for free, but we are also giving up prime earning hours to do it - just like my friend who is in Mexico right now is doing. The reality is that our businesses have not felt any negative financial effects due to the time donation. The only reason I mention all this is because once you get in the habit of volunteering it becomes easier and you stop seeing it as a risk, and begin to see it as an opportunity. If you think donating a few hours per week would be challenging, imagine what it could be like if you flipped it around. Just this morning I called up another old friend who worked with me for a couple of years. In conversation it came up that he and his wife were now living in a new city, a very expensive city, and happily supporting themselves on one day of work per week while engaging in volunteer work 4-5 days per week. This is an example of what is possible when we consider what is the greatest value that we can deliver with our time and efforts.
Regular volunteering could be a great way to make a difference for others, reap healthy benefits in your life, and add balance to your work.
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