There’s a lot of focus on self-improvement—leadership development at work, self-care outside of work, healthier eating and exercise habits, and the list goes on! Of course, we support and encourage this! But today, we want to shift the focus from ourselves to others.
Even if we have not fulfilled our goals for ourselves, we still have something to give to others—even just a ‘small’ something. We are reminded of the ancient practice of tithing, a practice that exists in many cultures and religions. The word tithing comes from Old English for “tenth;” people contributed 1/10th of their income for religious purposes.
For us, we think of 10% not just in terms of money, but time, focus, and energy as well.
Do I have 10% of my day to respond to a request for help? 10% of my focus to attend to my neighbor’s problem? 10% of my energy to help my elderly aunt get to a doctor’s appointment? 10% of my workload to mentor up-and-coming leaders? 10% of my money to buy malaria nets to help stop the spread of one of the deadliest diseases on the planet?
When it comes to charity and to giving to others, we know It’s easy to feel stuck not knowing where to concentrate, deciding which cause is the most urgent, or figuring out where our efforts will have the most impact. Too often we end up doing nothing because we don’t know where to start.
So let’s make this easy.
We invite you to reflect on the idea that you have a lot to offer. If it feels right to you, consider that you have at least 10% of something to share. Some percent of yourself can go to helping others, bettering our collective situation, supporting neighbors or family members, or a political cause or humanitarian aid.
While it’s easy to feel powerless in the face of so much need, we encourage you to remember the power you do have—especially the power you have to make changes.
- Do I want to give time, money, expertise, or something else?
- What were my personal highs and lows this past year? How can these experiences help me align with a cause that supports my own values, passions, and interests?
- What are my interests and skills? What causes feel most closely aligned with that?
- What do I most want to learn from the experience of giving back? What do I want to gain from the experience?
- How much time/money do I have and how flexible am I?
We feel strongly that giving to others is one of the most effective ways to give to yourself. If you need some ideas on how or where you might approach this, visit www.effectivealtruism.org.
Find us on LinkedIn, Facebook & Twitter, or email us at [email protected] and let us know how you already do, or are planning to, give back.