Last month I shared a few lessons I learned during my time volunteering with IDUG. Although I could fill a book with all the things I've learned as a volunteer, I'll highlight just a few more takeaways that I think could benefit everyone interested in volunteering with IDUG.
After the First Step, You Just Keep Stepping
Surprisingly, one of the biggest challenges in my current role was writing the president's blog. Really! But when I sat down to write I found that after the first sentence came the second one. And the third one. And after a few of those, the next one was much easier. It was a good lesson; sometimes you have to take that first step to see the second step and beyond.
The Team Leader Sets the Tone
Whether you realize it or not, this is how it works. It's easy to criticize the leadership tactics of your team lead or other boss. It becomes a little different when you're leading the team yourself. Not everything is as easy as you might have imagined. However, the tone you set as a leader is what your teammates echo back to you. Think about that the next time you get angry with your team member.
Having a Mentor is Priceless
Often we are all way too smart to take good advice or listen to helpful guidance. IDUG brought me a mentor. He was not the first mentor I had, but he was a great one! By supporting and guiding me, he made me feel welcome, useful, and accomplished. He pushed me past what I thought was my limit, helping to broaden my views and bolster my confidence.
To my mentor: Thank you! (if I haven't stressed this enough so far :))
Change Is the Way to Grow
I've found that the bigger the change, the more you grow (though sometimes it's better not to do it all at once). IDUG is run by different teams with team members in different roles, and every role brings something new. Every role requires an additional effort to learn. Also, some teams are designed in a way that you change roles on regular basis to bring fresh ideas and energy.
Every change requires some time to adapt. But learning to move through changes, leveraging previous knowledge, tweaking it, upgrading it with new information, trying it out, practicing, making mistakes, and learning more have made the changes in my “real life“ easier and something I actually look forward to.
There are many, many other things that IDUG has brought into my life. Many new skills, new friends, and new horizons. It's just hard to fit it all into the small space of a president's blog :).
Back to upcoming events—I'd like to remind you that our IDUG NA Tech Conference in Charlotte is just around the corner. Great education is lined up, together with some big announcements and fantastic accompanying events. Make sure you don't miss it!
I'm looking forward to seeing you in Charlotte. And if you want to talk to me more about my IDUG volunteering experience, just stop me anytime, anywhere :)