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Leadership Thought #330 – Real Joy Comes from Helping Others

April 3, 2012

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Helping others is an important and necessary part of life.

It’s extremely easy to get so caught up in our own reality and forget about the needs of other people, especially those not directly in our social or professional circles.  However, it’s been proven repeatedly that real joy comes from helping others not just focusing on ourselves.   Leaders are in a unique position to set a good example in this regard.   It isn’t just a coincidence that the most philanthropic and community-involved companies tend to do better than their less-engaged peers on the business front.  People want to know that you care about more than just profit, especially your employees.

There comes a point in every successful businessperson’s life where they end up having more money than they need.  There are several decisions that can be made at this point: continue to accumulate more personal wealth, invest some of this money back in the company, share the wealth with those who helped get you there, donate money to causes you care deeply about, and help those who are less fortunate.  I purposefully left out buying more things and/or living a more grandiose lifestyle because there are countless studies/examples of how this only ever has a minimal impact on overall happiness.  More is not always better.  It can also end up being quite damaging to your psyche if taken to an extreme.

No one is ever successful or happy alone.  Other people are a mirror of our own actions.  Businesses cannot exist without having beneficial relationships with their employees and customers.   Thriving and vibrant communities engage at all levels of society and value everyone equally.  Healthy families understand the importance of loving and supporting one another, especially when this is hard to do.   Meaningful friendships/relationships are always best when they are grounded in feelings of mutual respect and a genuine sense of caring for the other person.   You are only ever happy and fulfilled because of other people, not despite them.  If you are paying attention, you will notice a direct correlation between how you feel about yourself and how you treat others and their corresponding response to you.  This energy or the lack of it is a palpable feeling in someone’s life.  Businesses experience all of this on a grander scale.

Life may be about “give and take” but taking too much only ever ends up having adverse consequences for others and you.  You may not feel it right away, but it will catch up with you.  For those of us who are of a religious bent, this is a special week. We acknowledge the ultimate sacrifice of a man who only ever had our best interest at heart.  Even those who don’t share the faith appreciate the way he lived his life and the values he espoused as a model for human behavior.   Everyone should read the Sermon On The Mount (in the Bible) at least once and reflect on how these words can be applied to their own life.  It is through our feelings about things and actions towards others that we find peace and contentment. Everything else is just a distraction.