Five Steps To Purpose Driven Leadership – Step 5: Give Back


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Five Steps To Purpose Driven Leadership - Step 5 Give Back
Five Steps To Purpose Driven Leadership – Step 5 Give Back

Think for a moment where you are, what you have achieved so far. Did you get help from others on your way? Did your supporters ask for compensation for their help? Are you grateful for your achievements and the help you have experienced?

Time to give something back!  

You do not need to give it back directly to your supporters. You should do this for any other who needs help in this moment. As everything is connected anyway it will close the loop cycle. 

Why is giving so more important than taking? 

Because we are wired for connection and looking for purpose in our lives. Or simply said it helps others and makes us feel good. 

What are the benefits of giving? 

  1. It makes us feel happy. Michael Norton, is a professor at Harvard Business School. In his 2008 study he found out, that giving money to someone else increased their happiness much more than spending it for themselves. It stimulates the regions in the brain which are associated with pleasure, social connection, and trust. According to other scientists it can create a ‘helper’s high’ like a ‘runner’s high’ of marathon runners. 
  2. It is good for our health condition. Stephen Post, professor of preventive medicine at Stony Brook University, published a book ‘Why good things happen to good people’. He wrote that people suffering from chronic illness, like HIV and multiple sclerosis could increase their health conditions by giving to others. A 2003 study from Stephanie Brown and colleagues at University of Michigan lead to similar conclusions. They found out in a study on elderly couples, that those who a provided help to their environment, had a significant higher live expectation. Further research figured out that giving can help decrease stress and lower blood pressure. 
  3. It fosters collaboration and therefore increases social connection. Brent Simpson and Robb Willer are sociologist. They represent the thesis, when you give first, it is more likely that you get more back. Sharing is caring. Generosity will be rewarded from others, not only from those who receives. 
  4. It helps to develop gratitude. As gratitude is an integrational part of happiness, health, and social bonds, giving raises a sustainable happiness. Studies from Robert Emmons and Michael McCullough, co-directors of the Research Project on Gratitude and Thankfulness, concluded that a higher level of gratitude gets increases optimism and perceived quality of life. 
  5. It is contagious and creates a ripple effect on generosity on others. James Fowler and Nicholas Christakis published in the ‘Proceedings of the National Academy of Science’, that others behave more generously, when they recognize a generous act from another. Giving is linked to the hormone oxytocin, which triggers feelings of warmth, euphoria, and connection to others. 

Giving and volunteering time and efforts is something which you can get passionate about it and something you will never regret. It will enrich your life and the life of others. It helps you to grow as a person, and gives you a purpose, to better understand how you can make the world a better place. You will have the chance to broaden your network, meet a lot of new people and creates friendships with people who have similar values, and you would have not met elsewhere. 

If you plan to use ‘give back’ only to make your personal and professional profile more attractive, to get perceived as a generous and good person, it may work in the first run but eventually people will discover your real intentions. 

Giving can but does not require money at all. Explore your resources, skills, experiences, thing, etc. 

What are some great areas for ‘Give Back’? 

  1. Skills, knowledge, and network. What skills do you have which might benefit others? On a professional level you can assist people to learn new or enhance their existing IT skills, leadership skills, project management skills, development skills, and others. You can take over mentorship, support people to develop their professional career and help them to expand their professional network. Introduce them into your communities for the benefit of all. In your private life you can share your knowledge to help others to increase their level of confidence, self-management, and self-discipline. Teach them on art, philosophy, or sports and create communities with them. 
  2. Environment. Everybody knows that our planet is suffering. The planet with all its flora and fauna, with air and water enables our existence. It does not take a lot to give something back. Reduce or avoid waste, reduce your carbon footprint, help to grow, and renew our nature, for example with gardening to produce your own vegetables, or plant trees. 
  3. Sustainable businesses. What are your favorite brands? Are they minimizing their negative environmental impact? Where and who are producing the goods? Are they sustainable and regularly publish a sustainability report? Are you shopping online or support small local businesses? This is also some kind of give back. It protects the environment and ensures that human rights are secured, like fair compensation and no children work. 
  4. Poverty & hunger. Donate what you no longer need, food, clothing, or money of course. How overloaded is your wardrobe? Do you need all that clothes? Before you put it into the trash, give it to local organizations who distribute it to someone who desperately need them. You cannot feed the world hunger, but in your neighborhood, in your town, there might be an organization which feeds homeless people. Donate basic fresh and healthy food to those organizations and a homeless could get a warm meal today. Of course, you can set up a monthly donation to worldwide operating charity organizations like UN or WHO support the poorest of the poorest, especially in developing countries. 
  5. Time. Even if you do not have much to offer, spend your time with others. With elderly or sick people, with people that currently facing a huge life crisis. Just sit and listen, hold their hands, encourage them. This applies also in your professional life. Spend some time with your team members, to understand their concerns, their challenges, not only at work but also at home. The pandemic situation forces people to work from home, conduct home schooling with limited resources and spaces. Even if you cannot provide an immediate resolution, listen, and take care. 

Do you feel, something is missing in your life? Try to give something back, to an individual, to a community, to the society. Discover the new feeling: Giving is Living

There are more than 7 billion people on the planet. Can you imagine what could happen if only half of them would give something back. Not one massive thing, a lot of trivial things could make the difference. 

You cannot change others without changing yourself. It will not only enrich the lives of others, but it will also enrich your life as well. 

Start small but start now. 

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Juergen Sommer

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