Giving a part of my annual productive hours to worthwhile community causes has been a part of my work practice since about 2005. After an almost three year hiatus in Singapore (due to the longer work hours) I am restarting that practice again in 2012.
In the past, it has been me bringing my professional expertise to a not-for-profit organisation. This time round, I am integrating my own professional development with the community work – I am going to be a Lifeline Telephone Crisis Supporter.
I see the following professional development prospects:
- Learn to respond calmly, rationally, and effectively to unexpected crisis situations.
- Learn to safely and effectively de-fuse emotionally loaded, and potentially lives-at-risk situations; to arrive at practical and appropriate actions.
- Learn to place the other person first, and not myself. And to help them arrive at their own solutions and clarity without me telling them what I think they should do. Change-enabling rather than change-managing.
- Learn to consciously hear myself, to be aware of what I am saying, to evaluate my intention; even as I am actively listening.
- Learn to build even better boundaries between others and myself; to empathise effectively but not get drawn into rescuing others or fixing their problems for them. Professional detachment is essential to effective problem solving.
- Ongoing practice of listening and empathy skills – essential for effective relationships building and solving interpersonal challenges/conflict.
- Exposure to a wide range of personalities and situations – ones that I may otherwise not normally encounter. Again, this is a practice at embracing change and diversity; learning to walk in vastly different shoes.
I’m sure I will discover more as I become certified and start volunteering on the phones. The comprehensive training starts tonight!
If you need help, call Lifeline (Australia-wide) on 13 11 14. Visit www.lifeline.org.au to find out more about what they do.