Austin Alexander Burridge, 3 Reasons to Volunteer

Austin Alexander Burridge, Volunteer Advocate, Shares 3 Great Reasons to Volunteer and Help Others

Austin Alexander Burridge is an avid academic who studies Environmental Science at Winona State University and believes that work in the service of others is a key pillar to personal development.

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Sometimes it's easy for someone to adopt a "me, me, me" attitude. While focusing on oneself, a person may feel nice in the moment, but serving and helping others will bring lasting benefits. While there are many great reasons to serve and help others, there are three universal truths that resonate with volunteers around the globe.

Austin Alexander Burridge's 3 Reasons to Volunteer:

1. Accomplishment

Often, people fall into a trap of focusing on themselves when they are feeling down. Maybe someone did not get a job they wanted. Or perhaps a person gets dumped by an expected lifelong companion. Maybe someone feels they have underachieved after looking at Facebook and seeing great things a high school classmate has accomplished. When feeling down, helping others is a proven way to improve one's mood and attitude, and it can provide a sense of pride and accomplishment. The act of giving to those in need is an inherently good action and leaves people with a wonderful feeling of joy.

2. Gratitude

One can become more appreciative of life by serving others that have less. Whether volunteering at a soup kitchen, visiting the elderly at an assisted living center, or helping families after a natural disaster, service enables people to be grateful for what they have. Seeing people who have fewer advantages, especially those who are spirited and thankful for small things, allows one to realize just how fortunate he/she is in life.

3. Friendships

Volunteering is a great way to build meaningful friendships, not only with other volunteers but also with those who are served. One of the most profound and fascinating aspects of these relationships is how volunteers will learn from those served and vice versa. As these special bonds are built, they lead to impactful connections that last for years to come.

Of course, these are just a few reasons to volunteer and serve others. One can never go wrong by helping others as opposed to merely focusing on oneself. Volunteering invariably and inevitably contributes to personal growth, development, and satisfaction.

About Austin Alexander Burridge: Helping others has been of paramount importance to Austin, and as a part of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA), Austin gave back to the community around him. He also has participated in annual peanut butter drives, The Minnesota Sandwich Project for the Homeless and collected canned goods for local food shelters. Additionally, Austin has a passion for the environment, which he pursued when visiting the Galapagos Islands, Ecuador, and the Amazon Rain Forest while studying at the School of Environment Studies, which investigates ecological systems and their sustainability

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Hailey Miller's Debut Single Is 'The One'

"The One" is available now across all streaming platforms.

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Being able to blend genres well is a true testament to a great artist, and Hailey Miller has done just that. Breaking onto the pop-country scene with her debut single "The One", the song speaks to the lessons that come out of unfortunate heartbreak, and definitely resonates with people going through one. I got the chance to talk with Hailey about her music, Nashville, and plans for the future:

1. What inspiration did you pull from to write "The One"?

"The One" was inspired by a relationship I was in. It was young love, not the healthiest relationship, and was dragged on for way longer than it should've been. I'd pretty much worked through all the heartbreak by the time it was fully over, and this song felt like the final piece to the puzzle. To acknowledge that some good came from the whole experience, and that lessons were learned. It just kind of poured out of me. It was exactly what I needed at the time. I wrote it and instantly felt peace. Like I could finally let it all go. It's a different kind of breakup anthem, and I hope that people can connect to it in the same way I did.

2. Do you tend to pull from personal experience to write or do you write using a third person perspective?

I definitely prefer to write from personal experience. I've written from a third person perspective, but it always feels more genuine for me to write about things I've been through first hand. It's just easier! It flows better, and feels more honest. Especially if I'm planning on using the song for myself. As an artist, I always want the truths I'm speaking to be genuine. I feel like people connect better that way. If I can't fully connect to the stuff I'm singing, how can I expect the listeners to? Personally, as an artist, the stories behind my songs are just as important to me as the song itself. That being said, if I can connect to someone else's experience deeply, writing third person can be just as fun!

3. What has your experience been like being a woman in the music industry?

You know, I don't have anything negative to say about my experience so far. I've felt respected as an artist from almost everyone I've personally come across in the industry. This being said, I'm very aware of the challenges females tend to face on a larger scale, especially in country. But I try to not let it phase me. In my mind, I'm just an artist…not a "female artist".

4. Growing up in Oregon, what/who inspired you to move to Nashville and write country music?

My earliest inspiration was definitely my aunt. She was singing country music professionally when I was super young, so I grew up seeing that and my family was super good about surrounding me with all sorts of music. My dad had this thing where he would always tell me to "listen to the words" and then at the end of the song I'd have to tell him what I thought it was about. It made me realize at a young age that music isn't just sound, it's stories. I fell in love with country music and its stories. Then came along these powerhouse female singer/songwriters…like Taylor Swift, and that was it. I knew it was something I wanted to do, and I knew Nashville was the place to do it. So, I learned the guitar, taught myself how to write, and made the move as soon as I possibly could! It's pretty much a 19 year old dream in the making at this point.

5. How has Nashville shaped your artistry and/or songwriting since moving there?

Nashville has already shaped my artistry and songwriting immensely. I think the biggest thing is being around so many talented artists and writers. It's super inspiring! Every time I go to a show or writer's round in town, I go home wanting to work even harder. That's the magic about Nashville. In a place where the industry could feel very competitive, the community is so amazing that instead of feeling intimidated, I feel inspired. I think that's so cool. Being able to learn your craft in an environment like that, where everybody is willing to collaborate and learn from each other. There's no room to sit still and not work hard. I think that alone has made me a better artist and writer. I've discovered my own unique writing style and sound, and can't wait to develop it even more.

6. What has your experience been like releasing your first single independently?

It's been amazing! I've had the best time with it. The process was so fun, and such a learning experience. Since it was my first release, I tried to go into it with little to no expectations and I've been blown away! The support I've received is beyond what I ever expected, and people are listening!! That's all I could've ever asked for. I think putting out music for any artist, independent or not, is always a little scary because there's this fear that people won't connect to such a personal part of you. There's so much work behind the scenes that goes into it. But it is so rewarding to read people's messages about how they connect or relate to the song. It's the best feeling in the world!

7. What are your future goals and aspirations within the music industry?

I ultimately just want to keep writing and putting out music that I love, and that other people love. Whether that's on a small scale level, or a larger scale. As long as I'm continuing to make music, I'm happy! That being said, I'd love to do some touring soon, and work towards my first EP/full length album.

8. Do you have plans to release new music soon?

Plans are in the works. I don't have a definitive date for you guys quite yet, but new music is on its way! I've been writing tons and I have some stuff that I'm dying to get out. I'd keep an eye out in the upcoming months for sure.

Listen to "The One" across all streaming platforms now and keep an eye out for future music from Hailey!


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Victor Mitchell, CEO of Lead Funding, Reveals 5 Things that Increase Employee Satisfaction

Different things work for different people when it comes to having a productive work ethic.

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According to a Gallup poll conducted in 2013, around 63 percent of workers surveyed across countries all over the world claimed to be disengaged from their jobs. In other words, almost two-thirds of employees are unhappy in their current positions, although not necessarily enough to quit. Instead, they tend to push through each working day with little energy and enthusiasm, while a further 24 percent despised their jobs altogether.

The same study found that only 13 percent of workers felt actively engaged with their jobs, genuinely enjoying their typical working days and taking their responsibilities seriously. Unsurprisingly, these workers tend to be the most loyal and productive ones, since they have a genuine interest in the direction the companies they work for are heading.

Naturally, not all employees share a deep connection with their employer and company. However, Victor Mitchell, a life-long entrepreneur and successful businessman who has successfully founded, acquired, and/or turned around numerous diverse business ventures over the past 30 years, firmly believes in five elements conducive to greater employee satisfaction:

1. A Good Team

Studies have shown that by far the most common reason people like their jobs is that they like the people they work with. After all, it shouldn't come as any surprise that a workplace without a team-driven atmosphere can be an awkward and unpleasant working environment for everyone involved. It's difficult to have everyone get along at all times, but building a good team is undoubtedly crucial to success.

Morale in the workplace is heavily determined by the integrity of your team and how people work together to complete common goals. While no employer wants to sacrifice productivity, it is essential to adopt a work-hard-play-hard philosophy by allowing time for personal projects, encouraging teamwork through fun team-building activities, and recognizing both individual and group achievements.

2. Flexibility

Many organizations adopt an unyielding approach that feels like a soul-destroying chore to become a part of. Those office cubicle farms, fluorescent strip lighting, and grey carpets hardly make for pleasant places to work in. While building a comfortable, bright, and enjoyable workplace is essential for keeping your employees happy, it's also important to give people a reasonable degree of flexibility.

When employees have the freedom to work independently, make improvisations, and feel their actions and decisions are supported, they'll feel more responsible and more important. The risk of becoming disengaged with the job will be significantly less as well. Some ways to increase workplace flexibility include allowing employees to work at home on occasion or choose flexible working hours.

3. Productive Work Ethic

Having a good team and a pleasant physical environment to work in is essential, but those factors alone will not lead to a productive work ethic. After all, no employer wants their staff to be having fun during working hours if it comes at the expense of productivity. A productive working culture requires clear communication and trust above all else, as well as recognition of good work.

Different things work for different people when it comes to having a productive work ethic. Some work better when they prioritize persistence, while others need focus, and others work better when under a sense of urgency. By recognizing the strengths of individual employees, you'll be better equipped to help promote and encourage their skills to increase their productivity.

4. Variety

Some jobs are inherently dull. For example, not many people would claim anything is exciting about data entry, accounting, or telephone marketing. Nonetheless, with creative thinking, it is possible to break the tedious routines typically associated with such jobs by adding some variety. When each day is slightly different, and there's an opportunity to learn new things, people will be happier.

To help keep employees engaged, it is essential to offer the option to carry out other tasks as much as possible. However, this solution may not always be possible, in which case you'll need to take some steps to make boring jobs less so. Short but regular breaks by the water cooler can help a lot, but others might work better when multitasking or setting themselves some productivity goals.

5. Being Challenged

If an employee isn't being challenged at work, then their job is just a job and nothing more. They won't ever have that feeling of pride they would have if they have just completed a challenging task, and there won't be that important sense of accomplishment that helps push people to work harder and earn greater rewards. Challenge often marks the difference between a follower and a leader.

The average person spends almost 100,000 hours of their lifetimes working, so it stands to reason that they want to spend this time learning, developing, and bettering themselves, rather than wallowing in boredom and frustration. Pushing employees to their limits by giving them new responsibilities might sound harsh, but when combined with a highly motivational rewards-driven system, it will more than pay off.

Final Words

Everyone needs to earn a living, but money is not the only thing that influences job satisfaction. Employers often underestimate the importance of other factors, instead offering pay raises to keep people happy. However, about half of the employees who accept such offers still leave within the next two years. When it comes to longevity and loyalty to the company, employee satisfaction cannot merely be bought.

About Victor Mitchell:

Victor Mitchell, 52, of Castle Rock, Colorado is a successful businessman and life-long entrepreneur who has founded or turned around varied companies ranging from wireless to technology to real estate services to finance. Currently serving as CEO of Lead Funding, Mitchell is widely known for his innovative business strategy.

Mitchell previously founded several successful wireless communications companies and turned around several others. His innovative management strategies allowed numerous "mom-and-pop" wireless retailers to achieve financial success by aggregating their selling power to bargain successfully for favorable rights from national wireless service providers. In 2000, one of his companies was named "Colorado Small Business of the Year" by the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce. The Denver Business Journal placed Mr. Mitchell on its coveted "top 40 under 40" list of business executives, and Mitchell was also a finalist in Ernst and Young's nationally recognized "Entrepreneur of the Year" contest.

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