No matter the level of your success, there are others around both better or worse off. As you work hard and improve your position, you should think about others and how to lift up your community. Improving your position may be financial, or it may mean you have more control over your time. Either allows you options to make a difference and give back.
There are many options. You can volunteer for a non-profit, try to get on a non-profit board, do a fundraiser or donate money. Which option(s) will be right for you depends on you. Volunteering is an easy entry point. Most non-profits need volunteers and will gladly help you find a time and place to volunteer.
Being on a non-profit board is a larger commitment. There are board meetings, committees to participate in, events to attend and financial support is always needed. If you choose this option, make sure the non-profit’s mission is something you are passionate about because board members are charged with corporate governance and making important decisions on the operations and business of the non-profit. This equates with time. Plus, board members need to take their role seriously because they owe fiduciary duties to the non-profit. If you don’t know what this means, look it up before agreeing to join a board.
Planning and hosting a fundraiser may or may not be easier. It may mean getting a restaurant to donate a percentage sales on a given night to the non-profit. Or maybe you are braver and will plan a larger event, which means higher expenses and bigger risk for the non-profit. But to be clear, fundraising is one of the most important activities for a non-profit.
Of course you can choose to donate money instead of or in addition to your time. Non-profits always need it. The more success you have, the more opportunity you have to give back in this manner. If you have the means, you owe it to yourself and your community to find good causes to support .
Find your entry point and do what you are comfortable with. The point is to do something. You don’t have to have money to do this, just an interest in making a difference.
Intention figures into everything you do. Intention is your
aim or plan. If you approach something with no intention it will be more
difficult to complete your plan or reach your goal. Intention can relate to
long term or short term plans.
In my legal practice, my intention is to do quality work on my clients’ behalf and help them achieve their goals. To do this, I focus on listening from the first interaction to understand their goals. I then advise them and work on their behalf with their intention in mind. I do my best to make sure I have the necessary information to make recommendations and that they have the necessary information to make choices.
Some people may be motivated by money. They will do whatever it takes to earn more, even if it means working one or more jobs they don’t like. If so, hopefully this is a short term plan because it is hard to do work you don’t enjoy.
Others may have the intention to better society. Maybe they
work at a non-profit that has a mission they are passionate about. Or they may
work in government.
I heard a professional musician interviewed about this and how his first real mentor preached intention. The musician thought about this and ultimately decided his intention was to be able to support himself, and later his family, through playing music and never having to get a ”real job.” His initial plan was to play with anyone who asked where there was a paying gig. As he improved, he had more and better choices, but, even decades into his career, he still makes choices based on his original intention.
The point is to think through your choices and options. This allows you to choose based on your intention. Doing anything important in your life without thinking about intention will make for a harder road. It is worth your time to consider this and think thoughtfully and meaningfully on intention throughout your life.
As an attorney, I don’t necessarily think of myself as creative or an artist. Despite this, I have to be creative during negotiations for clients or in coming up with legal arguments. No matter what type of business you work in or run, being creative is a benefit. You can work like people have for years or try to be creative, think outside the box and do something new.
You may be successful doing the same old, same old. I am not advocating for you to wholesale change what you’re doing or your approach. Adding creativity to me means doing the same old along with trying something new. It also is important to know if that new thing isn’t working that you need to shut it down. Then come up with something else new and try it.
This doesn’t mean coming up with something off the top of your head and putting it into play. In business, as opposed to art, it is important to think through the ideas you come up with. This could mean writing a business plan or conducting sufficient research before sinking significant resources into your new creative idea.
Every year I try to come up with a new idea to put into play in the way I work or how I conduct marketing and business development activities. This blog was one of those ideas many years ago. In addition to keeping me connected with people I know, as well as making new connections, it gives me another creative outlet. These are some of the reasons I keep doing it, but if I didn’t enjoy it and derive any professional benefits, I would stop.
As you can see, ideas do not need to be earth-shattering. The idea is to be constantly and consistently coming up with ideas and deciding which one to try. Sit down and see what can you come up with.