How giving helps create a successful business

One of the most common ways people refer to this time of year is as the “season of giving.” So this is a great time of year to reflect on the role giving plays in creating a happy life and a successful business.

As many of you know ten years ago I did a PBS TV series and book called The Five Secrets You Must Discover before you Die. It was based on 250 interviews if did with people from the age of 60-102 who were identified by someone else as the “happiest older person they knew.” Between them they had 18,000 years of life experience.

One of the things they told me was that when they were young they were mostly focused on what the world and others would give them but that they came to realize that happiness came from serving others. Giving not getting turned out to be the path to happiness.

When I was young I used to focus during the holiday season anticipating what gifts I might get. Over the years I find much greater happiness focusing on getting just the right gift for people in my life spending little time thinking about what they might give me.

It turns out the same is true in our careers. Research at Linked In shows that about one-third of the global workforce work from purpose-meaning they are mostly focused on how they can serve. Turns out those workers are more engaged, more satisfied, and routinely perform better than less purpose focused employees.

The best salespeople also work from purpose with those most focused on the purpose of truly serving customers way out performing those focused on money.

In my forthcoming book The Purpose Revolution I also show that businesses that focus on purpose also outperform those focused on profit. For example, at Unilever, their most purpose focused brands who consistently connect employees and customers to making a difference, like Dove and Ben & Jerry’s, are growing 35% faster than the brands without that purpose connection.

Even some of the most successful stories in business have to do with purpose. Take Apple. Steve Jobs constantly reminded his people that focusing on products not profits. He knew that if Apple created products that gave customers excitement and innovation, profits would follow. Purpose (giving) leads to profits. But really caring about serving always come first.

One of the other wonderful things about giving is we have almost no control over what we get from the world every day. Will the clients be friendly? Will people be kind to us? Will others be generous towards us? But we have 100% control over whether we give. We can always choose to be friendly, kind, to give our best ideas to others and be generous.

So, this is the season of giving. And giving with purpose have always been the secret to happiness, to personal success and to a business thriving.

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How giving helps create a successful business

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