8 Gifts of Giving Back
In light of the recent and senseless tragedy in Las Vegas at the Route 91 concert, we must consider why giving back is so important. The greatest gift being an entrepreneur provides us, is the ability and resources to help. There is nothing more important than coming together as a Human Race to help those who have lost their lives unfairly, or are coming away from a senseless act of violence with life-altering injuries leaving families without the sufficient funding to treat the seriousness of the injuries. Whether the charity we support stems from a senseless act of violence, or from the simple desire to contribute to a cause which pulls at our heartstrings, what matters is we do what we can to help.
1. Have an impact
Most of us crave to feel our lives hold more meaning and value than only living in the grind of wake up, work, sleep, repeat. Deep within, we each desire to experience more from life. When we first undertake the entrepreneurial journey, we often need to be frugal so as to have enough financing to give our dream a shot at becoming a reality. This is understandable, and yet it is still possible to volunteer and to give what we can whenever wherever we can. Many entrepreneurs promote the idea of tithing as part of their financial structure. Tithing is a physical manifestation of our goodness and love, whether that be time or money. We must ask ourselves, in what ways can sharing our goodness or love ever be wrong? It's not possible. When we tithe we become emotionally wealthy beyond our wildest dreams because it feels wonderful to help others.
2. Build community resilience
Resilience is developed both on an individual and community level. When we donate or volunteer to a person or community, we directly contribute to making individuals and entire communities stronger and hardier. Donating and volunteering brings people together under a single cause, where a community of like-minded people rally to help a community or person in need. It is incredibly bonding to share in offering ourselves to those in need with the love, hope and support necessary for all involved to experience that there is good in this world. From cleaning up streets, building schools, to reading to kids at the local library, or helping families with unforeseen medical or funeral expenses, we can enhance our own lives in helping to improve the lives of others. A community infused with strong and charitable people grow to become communities of hope, possibility, increased , opportunity and new life.
3. New connections
If we feel alone or lonely in our lives, one the best ways to get out of our negative focus is to get out of our own way and turn our focus towards being productive in helping others. Volunteering gets us out of the house, out of our funk and around other amazing people who are inspired to make this world a better place. Getting out helps to broaden our horizons. It places us in social situations where we can make new connections and friends. It also provides us with opportunities of further involvement in whatever cause we are supporting. When we get out of our own way, we put ourselves in contact with similar others who place people over profit. When we feel we have purpose, life isn't so lonely anymore.
4. Improve your overall health
Psychoneuroimmunology (PNEI) is the study of the interaction between our psychological processes and the nervous and immune systems. How we think and feel has a direct and real impact upon our own health and longevity. Volunteering and/or donating to important causes has proven to show increases in our physical, emotional, mental and spiritual health. When we contribute, we take the focus off of our own lives and place our efforts towards bettering the lives of others. This type of involvement fills us with love, and love is the answer to a healing of any kind.
Most great efforts call for great leadership. If we see there is a place and a means to give back, it is an opportunity for each of us to take a leadership role. Can this be intimidating? Yes, it can, but why not get outside our comfort zones? At the very least we will learn a lot about what it takes to organize efficiently, to work with others and to turn an idea into a crusade. Do not expect perfection. Ask for help, passion and donations. The intention behind what we do, and the subsequent emotions that drive us, are what count to those we are trying to help. At the end of the day, no matter how we may fumble in our efforts, we will undoubtedly experience the fruits of our labor when we see the happy faces of the people we have served. Just knowing we did our best to give to another is what life is all about.
6. Share proficiencies
We each have something wonderful to offer this world. We each have strengths that can be utilized for the benefit of others. If we aren't putting our talents, our hearts and minds to their best use each day, donating and volunteering are great places to start. If we are already contributing to a cause, we will know there is always more that can be done to help. We must get out into this world and share our skills and our hearts in whatever ways we can. Many of us will be surprised when contributing from our strengths that it only serves to further sharpen these very strengths, growing us as entrepreneurs. Our active participation in any meaningful endeavor makes us wiser, stronger, and more humble as human beings.
7. Because it feels good
Gratitude, giving new life and bearing witness to seeing new hope in the eyes of another is what makes serving others such a moving and life-altering experience. Never do our hearts feel fuller than when we are selflessly offering ourselves to a cause or person in need of support. Not only does it feel good to see that what we give is appreciated and well-received, but the fact that we have the power to inspire genuine hope in others makes us even more hopeful and humble in our own lives. Giving back fills us with the emotions we need and crave to experience as human beings. Contributing has the natural side effect of reaffirming our own beliefs in the goodness of self and others.
8. Give authentically
We must be inspired to contribute from empathy. We are most drawn to contribute where we would hope for others to contribute to us if the shoe was on the other foot. When people contribute to make themselves seem like a hero with no mention of a cause, a link, a website, phone number, or go-fund-me account, they are essentially using a tragedy or a cause to publicly feed their own self-adoration. People experience this as repulsive rather than charitable. It is appropriate to share what causes we are involved in when we are doing so with the hope and intention for others to follow suit or contribute in some way. The more quietly and heartfelt we give of ourselves, the more meaningful an impact we have.