Our fears and apprehensions might be more top of mind this time of year, considering Halloween just around the corner. Sometimes we can let what scares us keep us from trying new things or taking on a new challenge. For many, the idea of volunteering can be pretty scary–especially for those of us who might be new to service. “What can I expect from the experience? Who will I meet when I get there? Will I even make a difference today?”
It’s completely understandable to have these questions. It might be uncomfortable at first when taking on a new volunteering experience. After all, you are putting yourself out there, meeting strangers, and taking on a new responsibility. It’s okay to be scared, but not to worry! With just a few shifts in perspective, you could potentially discover an entirely new passion!
Lion’s Heart teen, Audrey, takes on the top 3 scariest things about volunteering and shares her tips for how to overcome these fears to have a successful experience:
#1. Taking the Big Leap: When I first started refereeing as an AYSO soccer referee, I dreaded my first day so much. I remember begging my mom to let me cancel and my mom telling me, “Audrey, stop being so afraid of something you haven’t even started yet. People are depending on you to show up to that game; all you have to do is try your best with your best intentions in mind.” She was right. It turns out that it wasn’t all that bad. Everything went quite smoothly; I made all the right calls, and kept the game safe and happy for the kids. In fact, a parent even came up to me and said, “Good work! Thank you so much for your help today.”
My point is that you need to stop thinking about everything that could go wrong. There is no reason behind agonizing over unknown outcomes without even starting. If you’ve been waiting to take an opportunity or a service activity but you’re too scared to start, simply just sign up and show up. Before you know it, you’ll be having so much fun that you won’t remember ever being scared!
#2. Making New Connections: Introducing yourself to new people and communicating with them is a daunting task, even in situations outside of volunteering. However, it’s important to remember that strangers are people just like you. When you go in for a conversation, remember to be present. Actively listen to what the other person is saying and ask follow up questions, while also offering up some parts of your life that relates. This way, you can truly connect with the person and make a new friend! If you enter volunteering with an open and welcoming heart, people will be able to sense that and reflect that. I have made so many friends during volunteering that I continue to stay in contact with, so believe me and try it out!
#3. Getting Comfortable with New Responsibilities: You are expected to accomplish your assigned task to the best of your ability, even if it is something unfamiliar to you. People depend on you for your effort and help, and it may be easy to be intimidated by this. However, there is no need to be afraid! Make sure to be attentive and pay attention to what you are expected to do. If you’re confused, don’t be afraid to ask; you won’t be seen as uncaring or careless, but rather dedicated and responsible. Most likely, your task won’t be overwhelming: just stay on task and keep in mind what you’re here to do.
You’re expected to show up on time, bring the necessary supplies, wear appropriate attire, and work with all your effort. People are putting faith into your work, so you must hold yourself up to a standard of work ethic and performance. It may seem scary, having so much expectations on your shoulders. Just remember that the organizers are already so grateful to have your aid. Make sure you fully research the volunteer activity so you know how to fully prepare, and go in with the expectations of helping and having fun!
All in all it’s okay to embrace being scared when trying something new–but with Lion’s Heart at your side you can accomplish anything you set your mind to.
Have a Safe and Happy Halloween!
Written by Audrey Xia – Lion’s Heart Intern and Blogger Audrey is a devoted Lion’s Heart volunteer and a passionate writer. If she’s not volunteering, writing, or playing soccer, you can probably catch her rocking out to some new music or eating Asian snacks.