For many professionals, a key aspect of a successful career lies in giving back to a community that once helped them to grow as people. Whether it’s to improve our health, to make a difference in the lives of our friends and neighbours, or to form new relationships, giving back can become the cornerstone on which a successful life is built. So, why is giving back to the community important, and what drives so many successful people to give back in such big ways?
Here are just a few reasons why helping others enables us to help ourselves, and why that might just be the biggest reward of all:
1. It Contributes to Our Sense of Well-Being
Although it may not seem obvious at the time, it’s a major truth in life that when we’re helping others, we’re also contributing to our own health and sense of well-being, mentally and physically.
Numerous studies have shown that acts of giving are linked to increased mental health in an individual. As many have said, being generous is not just about making others feel good, it’s mostly about feeling good about what we have done to others. After the act of giving, our brain will release happiness chemicals like dopamine throughout the body, aiding your sense of inner peace.
Studies have also shown that activities such as volunteering can boost self-esteem. In addition, charitable activities may even be good for maintaining a healthy heart, which is a benefit that can have a major impact on our overall health and quality of life.
Maintaining our own sense of well-being is just one component of the importance of giving back to the community, and for many people, a healthy lifestyle often begins with helping others.
2. It Adds Balance to Our Lives
When we give back to our communities and to the world at large, we’re often coming full circle on a cycle that has helped us on our own paths to success. For example, if your life was ever improved because of the kind words and support of a teacher or coach, or if you’ve ever relied on public education to learn new concepts, you may feel that giving back can simply mean providing others in our community with the same opportunities that you’ve been afforded.
The small things matter too. Even the purchase of a locally-made loaf of bread can mean participating in a system where people work hard to help one another; to wit, farmers, truck-drivers, store owners, and many other people all work hard so that we can eat a good meal. So when we give back, we’re really building on the larger whole that helps everyone in society reach their potential.
“The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
3. It Expands Our Skills and Experience
When giving back to our community, we’re also often able to expand our skill set and develop new experiences that will aid us in the long run. Often, helping out in the community means developing strong organizational skills and communicating with a wide variety of people to accomplish a task.
That can mean that we’ll come away from the experience knowing more about problem-solving and effective leadership, two qualities that can contribute enormously to a successful life. Moreover, the knowledge that we’ve made a difference in the lives of others can provide a confidence-boost like no other!
It Strengthens Our Networks and Helps Build New Relationships
When we’re helping out in our communities, chances are good that we’ll also be meeting local leaders and expanding our network of friends and colleagues. When we’re meeting like-minded individuals, we’ll be improving our lives in the bargain.
Meeting new people and expanding our network not only benefits our professional life, but it can also improve our health and help us build a solid sense of self-confidence and self-worth.
When we’re surrounded by people with a commitment to helping others, we may also find that we hold ourselves to higher expectations and that the goodwill and positive attitude of people committed to charitable causes improve our mood and self-image.
Networking with other community leaders can also be a form of marketing that shows the true worth of our services or products. When people realize that we’re committed to improving the lives of others, it will speak volumes about the products or services that we’ve worked hard to develop. After all, charitable work gives us the opportunity to be the best representatives of our business and show others what our values and passions are all about.
“Instead of better glasses, your network gives you better eyes.” – Ronald Burt
4. It Increases a Sense of Purpose
The act of giving or the act of kindness can help an individual to gain (or regain) a sense of purpose in life. Just as success becomes easier to achieve when we build on the motivation to overcome obstacles and persevere in face of setbacks.
It’s also true that from time to time we must also strengthen and recommit to our sense of purpose by learning and connecting to the lives of others, so it’s easier to keep ourselves motivated.
Fulfilment from giving will also bring us joy, and no challenge will seem too great because the pathway to further success will become clearer. That is the development of a resilient and successful mindset done right!
These are just a few reasons why giving back is important to leading a healthy life and in finding the passion that will take our work from good to great. With the right attitude and a bit of effort, we can be sure that our contributions to our community can make a difference in the lives of others and help us live healthier, more fulfilling lives.
At the end of the day, the chance to give back to our communities may be one of the most rewarding aspects of a life well-lived. Remember, enjoy the journey, and you just may happen upon a truly life-changing experience in the bargain!