Take time to pause and reflect

With the Christmas holidays almost upon us, it is a good opportunity to take time to pause and reflect.

Last week I attended the Mental Health 101 workshop. I wanted to incorporate some of the tools from this workshop into our own training for volunteers who interact with clients who may experience distress. At this workshop, the importance to stop and pause every so often to maintain good mental health was highlighted.

Whilst it’s important to stop and pause to recharge the body and mind, it’s also important to stop and pause to reflect on your practice. All too often we get carried away by the tasks at hand and Covey’s quadrant 2 activities are put aside.

Take time to pause and reflect

I was therefore grateful that I had an opportunity to attend IAVE’s Asia Pacific Volunteering conference. This conference provided plenty of food for thought to reflect on where we are at both at the organisations I am involved in and volunteering in general and what to focus on for the future.

There were a few examples of organisations who are wanting to engage a wider group of people. Many organisations have ongoing volunteer roles that provide well needed services in various communities. But as we all know, these roles don’t necessarily work for all people who are keen and ready to make a difference.

(That volunteers are looking for short-term commitment and that it is hard to find long-term volunteers was also one of the themes coming out of the State of Volunteering in New Zealand 2016 report).

Habitat for Humanity Asia Pacific has set up a youth leaders programme to address this challenge. They work with young people who themselves come up with projects and programmes they want to be involved in and through this, Habitat for Humanity realised that they stay engaged and connected in a variety of ways.

Red Cross Australia talk about the action spectrum. There are many people who want to do a little and a few people who want to do a lot. They are currently actively looking at ways how they can ‘harness’ these “many people” who want to do a little.

Both presentations highlighted that organisations need to shift their focus from our own internal the requirements of our own organisations to harnessing the ideas and initiatives of individuals in our communities.

I hope the summer holiday will provide you with an opportunity to stop and pause to recharge, as well as time to reflect on past achievements and future aspirations. I will certainly reflect on how at the Cancer Society we can shift our focus.


Take time to pause and reflect

Helga Wientjes

Volunteering NZ Chairperson

Helga is the Capacity and Development Manager at the Cancer Society of New Zealand. Helga has 10 years of experience of establishing supportive environments for volunteering in the not-for-profit and government sectors and is also on the advisory committee of her local timebank.


Rob Jackson’s Reading List

Rob Jackson delivered a great Master Class on day two of our Pivot Conference in Auckland. This covered topics such as setting a clear philosophy of volunteering, to measuring the contribution of volunteers. In this session Rob also shared tools and strategies to help you effect change within organisations.

He also shared his latest “recommended reading” list with us.  Rob Jackson’s reading list follows below.

So here it is, Rob Jackson’s Reading List

Atul Gawande, The Checklist Manifesto

This book looks at the use of checklists in the business world and the medical profession, with Gawande examining how it could be used for greater efficiency, consistency and safety. Gawande stated he was inspired to write The Checklist Manifesto after reading a story about a young child who survived a fall into a frozen pond and discovering the physician who saved her relied heavily on checklists.


Matthew Syed’s Black Box Thinking

Black Box Thinking is about the willingness and tenacity to investigate the lessons that often exist when we fail, but which we rarely exploit. It is about creating systems and cultures that enable organizations to learn from errors, rather than being threatened by them.



Adam Grant’s Originals

In Originals Grant addresses the challenge of improving the world, but now from the perspective of becoming original: choosing to champion novel ideas and values that go against the grain, battle conformity, and buck outdated traditions. For a full book review, try this site.



Rob Jackson is Director of Rob Jackson Consulting Ltd, a consultancy and training company that helps engage and inspire people to bring about change. Rob has more than two decades experience working in the voluntary and community sector, holding a variety of strategic development and senior management roles that have focused on leading and engaging volunteers.


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