Giving is getting.

When I interviewed my new assistant Donna, she asked me a question that caught me off guard: “Tom, what do you do to give back to the community?”  It turns out this is a good question and one that I believe all of us should ask ourselves.

Each of us have passions beyond our businesses.  We love to be outside, we love kids, animals, all kinds of things. What a great opportunity to do some volunteer work inside that passion.  There are no rules on who or what you support – it’s just great to go out and do it.  While donating money is a good thing, I believe we should all donate our most precious asset – our time.

I have two friends that started a not-for-profit company that packages meals for “food insecure” people.  It’s called Feed6.  Neither of my friends do this to make money.  It is a joyful passion where they find an organization that wants a team building day.  Feed6 arranges to have all the food components and packing supplies delivered to the company site.  Then the participants get to work packaging meals.  For $25 and a couple of hours of work, each participant will package enough food to feed 100 people.  Get 100 people in the room and you have just fed 10,000 hungry people.

This is just one example of what we can do.  As a business owner, we know how important our state of mind is in running the company.  If we are energetic and passionate, we get things done.  If we are down or cranky or disengaged, we are failing.  There is no better way to boost our emotional state than to be giving back to our community.

Here is my recommendation to you.  Find someone in your organization that will spear head a 2016 Team Building Day.  It can’t be a ropes course and it cannot be a retreat to talk about business.  It has to be a day of giving.  You will be shocked how much energy will come back to you and your company.

Here are some examples of what you could do:

  • Adopt a road for cleanup (we did this at Leadership Lee).
  • Package up meals for Feed6.
  • Spend a day cleaning a beach.
  • Help the Shy Wolf Sanctuary build enclosures for their rescued wolves.
  • Take over a Soup Kitchen for the day.
  • This list is endless. All it takes is a little creative thought.

photo credit: Buddha Give, even if you only have a little via photopin (license)

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