Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Business Foundations: 8 steps towards making gratitude (Philanthropy) part of your business culture

By Virginia Mburu
In the last episode Mwakazi- the Passionate Entrepreneur and owner of Makao Interior Designers  summarized the success clues to borrow from immigrant Indian entrepreneurs.  One of the   clues was strategic philanthropy.

To Now…It’s the usual  Monday morning traffic jams….He is driving to work while thinking how he can make use of those success clues. 

He tunes in to his favorite radio station and a voice over rings out - “Do you have a your personal gratitude account? How healthy is the account? Does its state make you happier or…..? Inject more deposits into this account and experience more positive emotions, better health & relationships……”
It is like someone somewhere is trying to aggressively drive a message across.

Was it not just yesterday that this gratitude issue was a subject of discussion through a case study based on Mark 14: 3-9? As usual he makes a mental review of the major take-aways he had noted in his notebook as under;

Step 1.....Actively look around and note the goodness around you
Take a break from busyness and myriad responsibilities and smell the roses. It costs you just your “involved self” and some time to note goodness in  or from people, books,  music, art, literature, daily life, history etc.  

Sometimes the goodness hits you like a grenade. The woman in the story is Mary, the sister of Lazarus- the one who was raised from the dead a few days earlier. Can this kind of goodness be ignored? 

Step 2.....Learn to be a good receiver of goodness
Raise your awareness levels and you will even notice the small ways that people show kindness toward you.  Many of us are subscribers of the philosophy that it is better to give than receive. 

Time we also wore the other shoe…unconditionally soak in the kindness and savour the positive feelings without giving excuses, being dismissive, evading the compliment or even looking away. If you happen to react as mentioned, check into your belief system. 

You may possibly believe you are not worthy of…… Mary recognized this mega goodness and made a mental note that she would…..

Step 3... Express gratitude for this goodness
Once we have noted the goodness, allow the positive feelings to grow and savour the goodness. We can now express our gratitude more deeply.

 Whereas a “thank you” would previously suffice, now we add a “hearty eye to eye” smile,  an “excited” exclamation or a  “spontaneous” jig!  The giver sees/ feels our gratitude and shares in our positivity- A mutually rewarding relationship no doubt.

 Mary expressed herself in a most unusual manner- an unusual gift. She knew that it was important to……

Step 4.....Choose your gifts- wisely
The gift may be a product or a service. You may decide to buy or create the gift personally. Either way, please consider;

  • The message the gift passes…..the receivers value to you, a work of sacrifice given straight from the heart. Mary’s gift was most unusual gift anointing with a whole pint of expensive pure nard perfume. John 12:4 says it was worth a year’s wages! Can you beat that?  Note that Jesus remarks- “She did what she could”
  • Make it valuable and personal…..Something the receiver will highly appreciate, personally use and if possible something they will not think of buying or cannot buy like your companionship. The whole pint of pure nard perfume was poured on Jesus’ head and feet
  • Make it memorable and impactful.....The fragrance of the perfume permeated the room, attracts everyone’s attention plus the supposed extravagance is registered. This is certainly an exceptional experience…
  • While at it, make the packaging great… Yea.. make it an alabaster (an almost transparent white stone often used for making  decorative objects)  jar!
  • The timing better be right…Mary may not have known it but Jesus made it clear what anointing symbolized “She did what she could. She poured perfume on my body beforehand to prepare for my burial”

 Step 5..... Understand that your definition of appreciation may not be similar to the receiver.
What if they did not smile back or are flat out indifferent? They may not respond as expected but they are just different though they still may be truly grateful.  

In our story, Jesus did appreciate the gift and says that “she has done a beautiful thing to me”

Step 6....Acknowledge negativity and respond with genuine appreciation and thanks

Wow… Were not some of those present indignant at this gesture? Possibly out of jealousy! Listen to what they said and compare to the response from Jesus. "Why this waste of perfume?  It could have been sold for more than a year's wages and the money given to the poor." And they rebuked her harshly.” "Leave her alone," said Jesus. "Why are you bothering her? She has done a beautiful thing to me”The poor you will always have with you, and you can help them any time you want. But you will not always have me. She did what she could. She poured perfume on my body beforehand to prepare for my burial. I tell you the truth, wherever the gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her."

Step 7......Make “gratitude” a lifestyle
While reviewing your day, make it a point to write 5 things you're grateful for every day. 

Make gratitude part of your social conversations. 

Always find something to be grateful about be it in a person, things or circumstances.  E.g. You may be grateful for the lessons you are deriving from a book you are reading, the author, the publisher, the distributors, the growers of paper used in manufacturing the book etc.

Step 8.....When giving as a business or an organization or as a group
Make sure the gift/ donation is in line with your strategic vision, mission and values
Have a clear understanding of the outcomes and impact of the donation and ensure they are aligned to your goals
Thoroughly vet the recipients capability to deliver the outcomes
Have systems that ensure you are up to date on the progress (time, scope, resource) of supported projects

Over to you Passionate Entrepreneur;

 How have you inculcated gratitude in your personal and business life?
 What other experiences have you noted that would be applicable in your life/business?

Share your experiences, suggestions or questions in the comments section below. 

Whatever you do, make sure it results in less work, more money and positive impact.


Virginia Mburu

Passionate Entrepreneurs Coach

Virginia empowers and motivates Passionate Entrepreneurs to realize their purpose and pursue it. She then assists the entrepreneurs to clarify, prioritise and focus on management and marketing strategies and action plans that will get them to work less, make more money and positively impact within one year. Access some of her gifts- absolutely free lessons on biasharacoach.blogspot.co.ke

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