Jordan Payne explains how volunteering took him out of his comfort zone and gave him a confidence he didn’t know he had.
Picture this: A collective of five festivals where nearly three million tickets are sold in a relatively small town with a rich history and incredible culture all of which is held over the course of August. The town bustles with the additional quarter of a million to a half million people in form of tourists.
In my case, as with many who might read this, this isn’t the best time of year. Struggling with the daily routine the slightly inconvenience of what feels like an invasion on the city makes things a little worse. There happens to be a small addition of personal and medical issues that don’t really lend themselves to the cause either but I did something this year that nobody would think of me first in line to do. I recently found myself with the opportunity to be a volunteer in the Edinburgh Festival through Volunteer Edinburgh. Now this is fascinating for a lot of reasons. The most obvious being you have a chance to go explore town at a time of year filled with all kinds of activity and people to meet. However I find it more intriguing with what it does for you personally.
The main reason I did it was because I wanted to put myself in a situation where everything is the opposite of who I am just out of curiosity to see what happens. Nearly everyone I spoke to when on duty assumed, because you are out there, that you must have confidence and an ego to boot that is the size of the moon, where in reality I am quiet, lack anything really resembling confidence or an ego and I have great difficulty in social rapport and general human to human interactions.
I used that time to learn and understand. You would be surprised how much you can surprise yourself when you leave your boundaries in your home. After that first day there is a chance you will realise that you have a rare moment in life to try and improve that confidence or the small social queues that you may be missing. Some people appreciated my relaxed persona as it made them feel comfortable. But sometimes you come across those who are far too confident and as such you have to equal that to get them to listen. Just because I was trying new things I never lost myself in the process. If you enjoy working with new people and interacting with people from all around the world then this is an experience I would recommend. And if you are in the same category as me where things come harder to you than those around you, still give a go as at the very least you will be trying something different and as I have you might learn a couple of things about you that you weren’t already aware off.
The experience has given me a new interest to do and complete ideas for projects I have been working on for a little while. It gave me some confidence in my own abilities and at the very least I know that I can help most people with their inquiries. The last thing to say is don’t take anything that happens outside on duty personally. You don’t have to know everything and it’s OK to say you don’t know as I did many times.
The volunteering program is for everyone and throughout my time doing it I met so many different people all unique to their own being with their own stories to share that it made my uneasiness fade in place of a something that could resemble some confidence at the end of it.