The 3 Things All Humans Crave–And How To Motivate Anyone, Anytime, AnywhereMarch 22, 2013
Do You Rule With Claws and Teeth? Try Leading With Engagement InsteadMay 1, 2013
Happiness can indeed be bought.
But there’s no storefront, no web site, no vendors or purchase orders required. And the wealth isn’t wired—but it is transferred.
If you want happiness for an hour—take a nap.
If you want happiness for a day—go fishing.
If you want happiness for a month—get married.
If you want happiness for a year—inherit a fortune.
If you want happiness for a lifetime—help others.
– Chinese proverb
Here’s how to get both rich and happy, guaranteed.
- Find a cause that feeds your soul. You’ll know it when you find it, because you’ll feel excited and uplifted at the thought of being involved. It’s okay if you find multiple causes, even rotate them. I’ve been involved with civil rights, abused kids, homelessness, women’s halfway houses, meal delivery programs and AIDS—each experience has stretched me in ways I could never have imagined. Learn about causes via Google or go to www.volunteermatch.org.
- Commit to “one a week.” This means giving an hour a week to a cause or an hour’s worth of salary. (Or give whatever amount feels right—just give something!). You can batch up your time and/or money and give in chunks, too.
- After you make a commitment to yourself, schedule your service time to ensure it happens. Write it on your calendar, book it in your phone, or write it on your hand—whatever it takes to make this an unbreakable date for giving. If you don’t set the time aside, life will intrude and you’ll lose the opportunity.
- Remember, you have a lot to give. You have time, talent, and treasure. Figure out which one feels right to give. Are you an expert in public relations, and could donate an hour a week helping a nonprofit with PR? That’s donating time and talent. Would you rather write a check? That’s donating treasure. It’s all good.
- Get others involved. In my companies I like to match the donations given by staff members (up to a specific amount). This is fun, gets the company and the team involved in giving, and boosts morale.
April is National Volunteer Month. If you don’t volunteer regularly yet, now is a great time to start.
When you start to give your precious time, energy or even funds to a cool cause you resonate with, you’ll learn one of the greatest lessons in life: giving is actually receiving. They are the same. You give and you get at the same time.
I am a hospice volunteer. For 14 years I’ve helped people with 6 months or less to die with peace, dignity, and as little physical discomfort as possible. Each of the 19 people I’ve had the honor of supporting through the death process has been a remarkable teacher to me. Imagine being brought into someone’s life at such a challenging time. Now imagine what their loved ones are going through.
Timing Is… Nothing
Many people tell me they are seeking their purpose in life; they’re waiting for that divine epiphany where their mission becomes blindingly clear. Then they’ll volunteer, become a philanthropist, really commit to a cause. Until then they’re in the grand “waiting room” of life—and let me tell you, there’s a huge crowd in there. And all are waiting. Are you?
I don’t receive divine messages that are complete and clear. I receive divine sticky notes. You’ve received these too. Maybe you had an insight as you were walking in nature, meditating, when your mind was still. Did you follow that message? Did you implement it in your life? I’ve found that when I do, it leads to more messages. Then months later I look back and marvel at what has come of that one tiny insight.
It’s funny, everyone spends so much time talking about work-life balance, and so little time talking about the need for service, for giving back to humanity. I find those are the best ways for me to stay balanced. We’re all busy, sure, but everyone can find one hour per week or a few hours per month to volunteer. Volunteering can bring you experiences that will shape your life in ways you couldn’t possibly imagine.
I hope you’ll try volunteering—whenever you’re ready–because I know it will make you rich inside, and it will make you happy, and it will put a spring in your step.
Yes, happiness can be bought. It comes from being of service to others, and often when it’s hard or uncomfortable. But the discomfort is temporary. And the happiness and inner wealth just grows and grows.
Christine Comaford is a global thought leader on corporate culture and performance optimization. She uses the latest neuroscience techniques to help leaders and teams create reliable revenue, deep emotional engagement, and profitable growth. Download an excerpt of her upcoming book at www.SmartTribesBook.com, and follow Christine on Twitter: @comaford