10 Ideas for Happier Volunteers (and You)

“Fake it till you feel it” and “Realize that anything worth doing is worth doing badly” made it on Gretchen Rubin’s list “10 ways to be Happier” in the October 2008 issue of Real Simple. Gretchen’s list is the outcome of what she calls a systemic study of happiness which included a year of test-driving every principle, tip, theory, and scientific study she could find.
These two triggered action on my part because I felt like they are strategies for creating happier volunteers – and a happier me.

Fake it till you feel it … based on the proven adage that feelings follow actions. I can see that if I take the time to do something nice (think an email heads up on a deadline or friendly call reminder or note of thanks) for a volunteer or member who annoys me, I’m bound to feel good. Enough times I’ll feel good (okay less annoyed!) about the person. I’m adding this to my volunteer training!

Realize that anything worth doing is worth doing badly … prompts you to ask if I’m crazy. Gretchen makes a strong case that challenge, novelty and surprise stimulate the brain and are key elements of happiness. People who do new things – learn a new skill, take on a new job, visit a new place – are happier than those who stick with what they know and can do. I’ll use this in my “benefits of volunteering” message. Plus, I’ll steer less than happy volunteers into new opportunities.

Wondering about the other 8 items? Visit Real Simple’s website next month for a link, pick up a copy of Real Simple at your favorite newsstand or email me.
Go ahead, take 5 and check out Real Simple’s Guide to Happiness or Gretchen’s Happiness Project blog. Share with a grumpy volunteer or member 🙂