The London 2012 Olympics has universally been accepted as a huge success, but who was it that received the biggest cheer at the closing ceremony? Was it the organisers, the performers on the night, or the athletes? No, it was the Gamesmakers! Those thousands of wonderful smiling, helpful people who gave their time and probably some of their own money to attend and make the games run smoothly.
I have read and heard so many inspiring stories of individuals who were given (some) training, using common sense, compassion and a disarming determination to ensure that the millions of people coming to the games from all over the world were made welcome and helped in so many different ways.
These people received huge and deserved public recognition. But there are so many other people who volunteer who do not receive such acclaim. Yet they still put in the hours, unpaid, to provide a service or support; giving their time to work with a charity or hospice or maybe helping in any way that they can in their own community to make things a little bit better.
So why do they do it and what benefits does it bring them?
Volunteering and working in an environment that is different to your everyday life can bring rewards unmatched by financial gain. Just a few examples include working with children from deprived areas, offering mentoring, or working with adults who have learning difficulties.
The reward? Seeing a positive change in a person just because someone took the time to talk to them or help them in some small way.
Many companies now find that allowing their staff to have time away from work on volunteering projects has a beneficial effect all round. Obviously to those receiving the help, but importantly to those giving it.
How wonderful for them to see that their help is making a difference and their companies in return will have more rounded, focused and confident individuals working for them.
At Liz Kentish Coaching we believe that giving your time free to deserving causes pays dividends long term in both self development and in business results.
Liz Kentish is the unpaid Deputy Chairman of the British Institute of Facilities Management. The members benefit from her involvement and guidance and Liz is able to use the knowledge she gains from this to pass onto the teams and individuals she trains and coaches.
We also go into schools with a free life coaching service to students who have all manner of challenges to help them to achieve their goals.
From a personal perspective it just makes you feel better, not just about what you have done but also about yourself, you learn something and that has to be good!
Can you imagine if your company employed everyone of those volunteer Gamesmakers, all coming back to work fired up, enthused, positive, happy. Goodness me how your business would rocket!
By David Kentish