We all have those amazing dreams, plans, aspirations and big adventures to undertake, but not always do we all find ourselves to pursuing them to fruition as we’d wish to. The same theme appears to outlay all those failed endeavours always; Courage, or the lack thereof commonly termed as “Fear”. “All our dreams can come true if we have the courage to pursue them”, Says Walt Disney. This is why I’d like to help you achieve your volunteering dreams by showing you how to muster the courage to go beyond the obstacles standing in your way right now.

According to Eddie Rickenbacker, “Courage is doing what you are afraid to do. There can be no courage unless you are scared.” Wow! That makes me want to congratulate you if you’re feeling scared to volunteer right now. It means you already have the first step in play. So all you need is to muster the courage to launch the boat and get sailing as you embark on your soon to be memorable, life-changing experience.

Firstly let’s look at some of the fears that may be haunting you in regards to volunteering and how to navigate them to your freedom.

  1. Fear of safety

Are you scared about safety while you volunteer? Maybe you needn’t. No volunteering opportunity won’t prioritize the safety of its participants. The programs are usually well planned and safety is usually well dealt with and guaranteed before the opportunity is opened up for applications. You can always ask about your safety arrangements before you start the opportunity and I’m sure you’ll be happy to find out that it was well prioritized in your best interest.

2. Fear of the unknown

Are you the kind deterred because of the foul fear of not knowing what exactly shall befall you when you step out into the unknown? While you’re busy drowning in the ocean of What shall I expect? What shall I find? What shall I do? And the countless what ifs? allow me to let you know that many people are having great adventures and writing beautiful stories in the pages of their lives because they have decided to despise the fear of the unknown and move into those odysseys.

Hey, you’ll never really fully know until you actually try it out and find out for yourself. Many myths will go unchecked and counted for truth because you never personally found out. Try it and find out for yourself, and soon you’ll happily discredit those fears.

3. Lack of resources

Chances are that not everyone was born with a silver spoon in the mouth, so they may not readily have sufficient resources to do as much as is in their hearts to do. Good planning can take you to great lengths in mobilizing the necessary resources to get you through an amazing opportunity. Find out the resources you need for your preferred opportunity and plan for them in time.

You’ll actually be surprised that they are not as extreme as your fears exaggerated them to be. With help from generous friends and family, plus some good savings here and there, you may actually be in surplus. Remember you don’t need the whole world of resources. Research about your opportunity and discover what exactly you need.

4. You’re not good enough

It is humanly normal and often times we find ourselves entrapped in such self-belittling thoughts. We think that we’re not good enough for something even before tying it. We disqualify ourselves too soon. How about if I told you that you’re sufficiently enough to get started. Some opportunities need you to just be there and do the most basics you can as you learn other skills along the way. Start with such opportunities. As you do, you’ll develop the skills to undertake other opportunities with a more technical skillset requirement. You don’t need to be perfect, you just need to be you, give your very best.

5. Bad experiences from the past

Some people may tell you stories of their not so good experiences from the past or you might have even experienced one yourself and this may have bred fear in you. Let me tell you something; every experience is not the same! Learn the due lessons from such past experiences and determine to make the next one the very best. Think about it: If you eat bad food today, will you resign from eating for the rest of your life? No. Rather you’ll become more careful with what and how you eat next time. So it is with such bad past experiences.

6. Too young or too old

There is really no perfect age for volunteering and besides, age is not something in the control of our hands. Take the opportunity with the age you have. If it suits your interests and you are willing to commit yourself to it, age won’t really matter a lot. You are not too young or too old, you are you and you can do something the way you are. I’m sure there is an opportunity that will rightly fit you the way you are.

7. Too much work

It is a common thought that nonprofit organizations, NGOs, are understaffed so they’ll pile a lot of work on you hence making the experience very demanding and draining. Well sometimes yes but not always, and in any case, you can always ask for your job description before time and try to stick to it. But also a little flexibility won’t kill sometimes. Be sure not to take on a lot that will spoil the experience for you. Discuss it with your volunteering host organization and honestly ask for what you can comfortably handle.

Knowledge is power. Now that you know the liberating truth about the fears that were wasting your courage, you can now better stand up to them and muster the courage to take on an amazing volunteering experience. The courage you need is all inside you. True to the words of India Arie, “Strength, courage & wisdom… it’s been inside of me all along.” Attend to them now as this knowledge illuminates the corners that were inhabited by those limiting fears.

You’re more courageous than you thought! Happy volunteering.

This article was written by Patrick Mugera, a volunteer Content Writer at VoluCulture.

At VoluCulture, we provide an online platform that connects grassroots nonprofit organizations in Kenya with local and global virtual volunteers.