How cultivating a Spirit of Giving is good for business
Businesses, by their very nature, are conduits for flow. They connect solutions to challenges, supply to demand, talent to expression, people to community, production to end-use, investment to returns. Yet many businesses don’t ‘invest’ in the energetic principles of flow through giving as cultural imperatives in their communities.
Recently, I had the pleasure of being interviewed by Alex Loh here in Singapore as part of his Community Builders Speak series (links to the transcript and full YouTube video at the end of this blog). The interview revolved around the key elements I employ in my business, that cultivate a loyal and vibrant community.
The conversation turned to giving as a catalyst for flow. I have complete certainty that my commitment to gifting a significant chunk of revenue each month to causes that support underprivileged and at-risk people in communities, and the environment, has a direct impact on both the vibrancy and growth of my community and revenue growth. It’s an energetic principle that I live and work by very consciously.
But it’s a tricky topic, which Alex brilliantly asked about. How can you be truly altruistic, knowing that when you give, you’re attracting growth? Doesn’t the motivation affect the act?
It was a good question, and I believe it’s a matter of a paradigm shift on the nature of abundance and how motivation and goal align through action. Sharing abundance and attracting abundance are not mutually exclusive; they are aspects of one movement of giving.
The sharing of abundance is a principle that exists in nearly every spiritual framework and in many, it is mandated. One could easily make sense of this as a societal survival strategy. That is, as a society and as communal creatures, there’s an inherent responsibility to share wealth and skills so the most underprivileged of us have some form of support and possibility to change their circumstances. This, after all, is the mechanism of economic fiscal policies the world over…how effectively this is managed can be debated, of course. However on a global scale, with such apparent polarisation of wealth and opportunities, it’s difficult to see this communal responsibility being taken seriously. I believe this is because we have a limited view of the true energetic nature of abundance and generation through flow.
Our profit-driven models are based on an assumption that there is a finite supply of abundance. Therefore it must be competed for, captured, retained and leveraged. From a mundane world-view, this makes sense. However, from a spiritual view, this paradigm is counter to the true nature of abundance, be it in revenues, clients, innovation, creative ideas, or talent, all of which operate, through flow.
Flow is when our bodies, minds, hearts and spirits are aligned and connected with our life field, consciously, with purpose. The same principle can be observed in the collectives of people, like in a business. When we are in a state of flow, we are happy and in my observation, people and businesses that operate in flow are well, vital, grateful, successful, purpose-driven and fulfilled. Being in flow doesn’t mean we don’t experience challenges; this is simply the nature of life. However, it does mean that we move through them quite differently – with presence, grace and ingenuity.
Flow allows a momentum, which steers us to higher possibilities because flow brings the realisation that we, our life field, our relationships and all that we experience are inextricably linked. Flow also enables greater flow. Just like the way a healthy, flowing river shapes and widens its banks, flow expands our awareness and capacity. It vastly changes our inner landscape and connection with life and business, our markets, clients and employees.
In my own business, I can see the vibrant effects of flow each month in a number of ways. Every month I donate all proceeds from my fortnightly meditation drop-ins and women’s circles, as well as a portion of revenue from courses, talks and private sessions. I usually choose to support the vulnerable, usually children, women, and the environment. If there is an immediate current need that presents, like victims of a natural disaster, or COVID or supporting awareness and advocacy for anti-racism, then these causes take priority in any given month. The Goodwill page on my website can tell you more.
When I set up my business in Asia six years ago, I set up this goodwill flow. My motivation for doing so was pretty simple. The polarization of wealth in the region is just so apparent. Within Singapore itself, and in surrounding countries within a stone’s throw in any direction, there is great need. For me, it felt important. It was also a way I could honour this region that was hosting me, my family and our businesses. At the start, the donations were small, and I also started donating my time at a local children’s centre for underprivileged and at-risk kids. As the revenue grew, so did the support I was able to offer. And very quickly I could see the direct correlation.
Now I can maintain a discretionary fund to sponsor sessions with clients that may have had their finances drained, yet are strongly drawn to energy work. Cancer patients who have lost work, or have undergone extensive expensive medical treatments are an example, or people needing emotional support during a challenging divorce and have been denied finances. With an understanding of the dynamics of flow, I am able to open access to energy healing and inner practice guidance to people who arguably need it most.
People in my community are engaged for many reasons, but I believe the main underlying reason is that they sense an alignment of values. They feel like they belong to something that satisfies their own sense of altruism and flow. Everyone is aware of the donations and they readily pay the drop-in amounts or discretionary donations for the circles very generously. For my corporate clients, I believe the knowledge that a percentage of the program fees is being donated to help others in the same region where they operate, also makes a difference when engaging me.
But perhaps slightly harder to explain, yet observable every single month, is when I release the pledged funds to the nominated cause, that is, when the money is released into flow, every single time, there is an influx of bookings and enquiries within the days and week that follow that release.
So returning to Alex’s question, my motivation for giving has always been altruistic. However, in putting that ‘Spirit of Giving’ into action, I have observed that it also generates growth in my community and business activities. Goals, motivation and action have aligned. It’s an observed movement that the Buddha once referenced when asked if the motivation for self-mastery, which is intrinsically selfish, in any way defeated the action. He responded that it doesn’t really matter what the initial motivation to better oneself is, because the action and results will correct the initial motivation. Giving and flow bring alignment.
In esoteric practice, on an individual level, vitality, love, abundance and fulfillment are aspects of flow and giving them unconditionally and consciously triggers their movement into and through our life experience. And, it has a multiplier effect.
For collectives such as a business, these four flows could be translated to:
Vitality = Cultural and business vitality, innovation, creativity, problem-solving, inventive collaborations, workspace vibe, employee enthusiasm, business expansion
Love = Loyalty, mutual respect, diversity, non-judgement, empathy, environmental respect, customer sovereignty, honesty, clear communications, enrichment
Abundance = New markets, new business, healthy pipelines, expansion, revenue growth, client-base growth, profit-share, R&D investment, cultural investment, wage growth, brand equity
Fulfillment = clear vision, core values alignment, purpose, social and community responsibility and giving back, employee satisfaction and wellbeing.
The Spirit of Giving in business can be expressed in so many different ways. There is the obvious way of donating a percentage of revenue or time and talent to a worthy cause within the communities and environment where the business operates. But it can also translate into other smaller, yet highly meaningful actions.
Within the employee community, for example, a culture of affirming and recognising talent, great ideas and work well done can be cultivated consciously. And this is contagious. Creating opportunities for the entire team, regardless of role and responsibility, to put forward ideas for business and process improvement is also a form of giving and always yields fantastic insights into better, more streamlined approaches.
With client communities, a focus on providing an excellent experience and service at every single point of contact generates customer loyalty and referrals. It’s not rocket science, I know, but it’s amazing how many small businesses do not employ this form of giving.
Simply going through the exercise of identifying where the business can employ the Spirit of Giving, internally and externally within the communities that host and hold the business operations is worthwhile in itself. It’s an action that starts the process of alignment, which then enables flow.
For individuals that I mentor, I suggest that they start with those aspects of their lives they feel are lacking. Here are the clues for where to give. The same exercise can be employed by business teams. What aspects of the four areas of flow are stagnant or shrinking? This exercise can identify a series of adjustments to employee and client engagement and social responsibility, which can yield measurable results.
The Spirit of Giving is actually a lens through which to view our life or business and our connection to it, and it is one of the most potent forces we have at our disposal to generate flow.
In this year of total disruption, the biggest invitation we have is to explore new paradigms for self and business and redefine how we operate. With the playing field shifting for all businesses, now’s the time!
If you would like to discuss altruism in business and explore ways to cultivate the Spirit of Giving in your business culture, please get in touch.
You can also visit my website to explore courses and useful content to guide you along your journey to healing, self-discovery and mindful living.
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