When I want to learn a new skill or sharpen a familiar skill, I offer to teach someone else. The best gift that I can give is my time, talent, and attention. The best reason to give the gift is to help someone else and pay it forward. An unexpected reward is the glow of gratitude.
I learned the value of saying “YES!” when asked to do something for someone else. When I found it how much fun volunteer leadership roles are, I learned to say “YES!” before I’m asked. I look for opportunities to develop my skills as I give back to my communities.
It was at my home club of Princeton Toastmasters that I first learned that a fellow member considered volunteering a hobby. As I thought to myself “Really? Volunteering is a hobby?,” the wheels in my head starting spinning. They spun so much that the momentum changed my life.
I have forged great relationships while serving a common cause. Most of my friends come from fellow members of professional development and service organizations. As a virtual worker with home offices in two states, I rely on my off-work time to build and nurture friendships. When others make friends at work around the water cooler, I need to show up at the volunteering spicket.
This month, I’m presenting to the NY Metro Chapter of the Society for Technical Communication. My topic? Using the Power of LinkedIn. I had a lot of fun learning what’s new in LinkedIn, learning how the pillar product had changed, and seeing the evolution of the world’s largest professional network.
I suspect that I get more benefit from teaching a skill than the recipient does from learning it. If you want to learn a new skill, offer to teach it!