December, more so than others, tends to be a month in which we are invited to serve, help, participate and volunteer. It can become overwhelming and we can feel pulled, pushed and just plain stressed out. But, it doesn’t have to be that way. You have the power of choice and free will…by tuning in, and being conscious you’ll know your yes.

Blessedness comes when we consistently say yes to our yes and are gracious, kind, confident and firm in saying no.

Many people have shared that they are more introverted and very much appreciate being asked to volunteer. Some assume that others will step up and so they hang back unless receiving a personal invitation. I invite you to be proactive. Why? Because when we give a little (showing up for our yes) we get a lot.

Before continuing, let’s examine the definition of Volunteer (vol·un·teer): noun – a person who freely offers to take part in an enterprise or undertake a task; verb – freely offer to do something.

The key word that I notice in the definition is freely (that’s your yes).

When you volunteer and commit to things that are a strong yes, you probably find that you have plenty of time to get done the things you’ve said yes to. Why? Because you are energized and excited to show up. This just feels good…blessed.

If you answer yes to things that were really a no, then you may find yourself feeling tired and even dreading to show up. This just feels bad…stressed.

But alas, you have choices – you always do. And each moment presents the opportunity to choose anew. If feeling stressed, try one or more of the following to transform stressed to blessed:

1.     Change your thoughts. No more “I dread this”, “I don’t want to,” etc. Think “I get to be with x,” “I’m glad I’m having this experience,” “Even though this may not be my favorite way to volunteer, I’m glad I did because now I know.”

2.     Resign. Just because you said yes doesn’t mean that you cannot later change your mind and give someone else the opportunity to serve.

3.     Decide to have FUN.

4.     Look for the good regardless…I bet you’ll find lots.

5.     Practice gratitude – in all situations and circumstances.

In preparation for writing about volunteering, I asked several people if they volunteer and what they think when I simply say the word. The majority responded with statements such as: “I don’t have time to volunteer,” “Why? What do you need?,“ or “I’d like to volunteer but…”

This isn’t really surprising based on how accustomed to stressful thinking our society has become. Knowing the folks asked, they all volunteer a lot but didn’t necessarily consider how they were serving as volunteering.

Volunteering feels good. So, let’s look at a few ways you can or may already be freely offering or undertaking:

1.     Holding the door open for someone.

2.     Smiling at everyone you meet (and collecting all the smiles that radiate back).

3.     Serving on a board of directors.

4.     Reading to children at (pre)schools, libraries, places of worship, hospitals, etc.

5.     Helping a co-worker with their workload or to meet a deadline.

6.     Bringing in your neighbor’s newspaper or mail.

7.     Lending a helping hand.

8.     Call someone just to say hello, to cheer them up, or to say “I’m here.”

It’s really quite simple to volunteer and the reward is so worthwhile…Give a little; Get a lot.

I’m all about helping people go from stressed to blessed and from blessed to ultimately being a blessing in the world. Volunteering is an awesome way to make a big impact – one person at a time. And, most often that person is you.

I hope you realize that you are most likely already a wonderful volunteer and in more ways than you may have imagined.

I invite you to seek out ways to freely give of your time, talents, prayers, money, love, presence and in ways that truly honor your yes.

As we’re talking about serving, you may also want to ask how you are serving yourself? One of the best ways to do that is to set achievable goals that allow you to stretch just out of your comfort zone.

If you want some help in setting achievable goals so that 2017 will be a year in which you truly thrive, don’t wait another minute and schedule a free thrivability session with me.

May your life overflow with many blessings.

Abound in grace,


This is the original version of an article published in the December issue of For Seniors Only.