This post has nothing to do with business, yet it has everything to do with business. Before that paradoxical statement has you wondering if my elevator doesn’t reach the top floor anymore, let me explain.
As a nation, we’ve been rocked by dramatic events, natural and otherwise. Here on the east coast, Superstorm Sandy wreaked havoc from Maryland to New Hampshire, with as many as 24 states feeling some of her effects. It was second only to Katrina in destructive costs. In the Midwest, tornadoes ripped a swath of destruction through Oklahoma, and flooding still affects Colorado. Wildfires consumed the landscape in Nevada and California. And the list goes on. Truly, these are difficult times, marked by unprecedented disasters (2 Timothy 3:1; Matthew 24: 7; Luke 21:11).
Such times present an opportunity for the best in people to shine. Governmental and non-governmental agencies deployed quickly, and many volunteers pitched in. People donated through charitable organizations, thus providing support to those working on the ground in the affected areas. Through these and other means, people give back. Such altruism, in turn, gives back to the givers. In a Forbes article, Sylvia Ann Hewlett notes the health and career benefits of volunteering. She cites a study by Corporation for National & Community Service that notes individuals with coronary artery disease that participate in volunteer activities after suffering a heart attack report reduced despair and depression. This leads to lower mortality rates, adding years to their lives. Noteworthy is the study shows as little as 100 hours a year, or two hours a week, yields these benefits. Additionally, volunteering leads to many networking opportunities that often have a significant positive impact on a person’s career. That’s just the tip of the iceberg (see the article link above for more details).
Giving back has such positive effects for a reason. Whether through volunteering, charitable contributions, or efforts to raise funds for causes, those efforts reflect the principled love that binds people together (or at least should). It’s the cardinal quality of our Creator, therefore demonstrating it naturally brings benefits. Even if you don’t agree with that last statement, the evidence that showing love by giving back brings benefits is overwhelming.
How can we tap into our altruistic spirit and give back? Consider some examples.
Find Your Niche
There is no one right way to give back. You have to find something that speaks to your spirit (your dominant mental inclination) and then do it. Here are some examples
- Prince Harry’s pending Antarctic trek on behalf of Walking for the Wounded is all over the headlines. This will be his second cold-weather trek for the cause. He was part of a team that made a trip back in 2011 and entered the record books as the first group of unassisted amputees to reach the geographic North Pole. He isn’t the only celebrity taking up the challenge. Alexander Skarsgard is also heading a team, and their friendly competition is definitely grabbing attention.
- Dylan Siegel’s efforts to help find a cure for the Glycogen Storage Disease 1B sprang from the bond he shares with his best friend Jonah Pournasarian who suffers from this ailment. Not content with a bake sale, Dylan wanted to have a serious impact on funding the cure. So he decided to write a book and donate all the proceeds to a charity set up in Jonah’s name. So far, he’s doing a great job. Through the efforts of their respective families, volunteers, and media attention, they’ve raised $300,000, and have their sights on $1,000,000.
- As one of Jehovah’s Witnesses, I give back in a few different ways. I spend time volunteering in the community, helping people to make practical application of the Scriptures in their lives. I’ve also volunteered at a number of building projects, the latest taking place at the Brooklyn Assembly Hall of Jehovah’s Witnesses. Additionally, I joined countless others who volunteer locally and around the world in disaster relief efforts, such as helping to rebuild when Hurricane Sandy struck the northeast.
We could list examples covering a wide range of efforts, but this gives you an idea. The bottom line is we can all give back. We just have to decide how, and how much. Everyone has different circumstances, so assess your own situation first. See what inspires you, decide how you can help, then do it. The benefits go far beyond what you can see in the moment (even though the feeling of well-being is awesome), and that’s just the start! Don’t take my word for it, though. Experience it for yourself, and then you’ll have your own stories to share about the benefits of giving back. You’ll find it makes you a better person, and that will impact ALL aspects of your life, including your career.
How do you give back currently? What are some things you plan on doing to give back in the future? How have your efforts benefited you and others? Leave your thoughts in the Comments below.
- Volunteers Build Playground at New Jersey Park Damaged by Superstorm Sandy (dailyfinance.com)
- Jehovah’s Witnesses unveil a new Assembly Hall (jwitness.wordpress.com)
- Summer from the Heart: Meg Guroff of AARP Talks About the Benefits of Summer Giving (community.ally.com)
- You can enhance leadership while making a difference (dynamicbusiness.com.au)
- Rebuilding Together Launches Its First Web Series: Rebuilding after Sandy, Six Week Series Documenting Recovery Efforts (sys-con.com)
- Reasons to Volunteer (activefam.com)