It’s been a typical year-end in the corporate world.
Q4 was incredibly tense. The financials had to be closed, and projects concluded. Clients tended to come out of the woodwork with last-minute requests.
We dealt with their queries, grabbed gifts for friends and loved ones, and then, exhaustedly, sank into the cushions to stare at the tree, menorah, or unity cup, wondering where the time (and our energy) went.
And that’s just the stuff of our individual lives. We’re also contending with the state of the world—war, inflation, layoffs, and coronavirus.
We’re stressed. More stressed than we’ve ever been.
Gallup’s State of the Global Workplace report says stress is at an all-time high, with 44% of employees reporting that they experienced stress “a lot” the day before they were polled.
Things aren’t easy. We must make a conscious effort not to spin into negativity. We must work hard to stay balanced and optimistic because negative thoughts become self-fulfilling prophecies. They harm our physical states, too.
The idea: Don’t give back—give FORWARD
This year—via this post—I’m experimenting with a beautiful way to deal with negativity and stress. It’s an internal magic you can spark from within and focus on consciously. That’s what I’d like to share with you here.
As an owner of a small company, I’m privileged to have a profitable business for a year and a half despite external circumstances. Filled with gratitude, we don’t just want to give back; we want to GIVE FORWARD.
That’s the magic—giving forward.
The inspiration for this idea came from a friend who spoke about how important it is to express what we’re doing to help the world.
When we give forward by speaking about our contributions to the world, we create sparks that ignite positive change in our environments.
Sharing our contributions also roots us in gratitude, which helps us physically and emotionally. When we’re well in those states, we can enjoy great relationships, perform better, and thrive.
Sharing what we do may inspire you to ignite your fire, too.
Ready? Here’s our forward give.
Giving forward: our commitment and contributions
There’s an old Chinese saying:
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 year, inherit a fortune. If you want happiness for a lifetime, help somebody.
My team and I are committed to helping others. We’re committed to creating a wave of positive change in the world.
How do we help?
We give gifts to our clients from protected shops that hire people with disabilities.
As it turns out, giving gifts is good for our brains.
There is now neural evidence from fMRI studies suggesting a link between generosity and happiness in the brain. For example, donating money to charitable organizations activates the same (mesolimbic) regions of the brain that respond to monetary rewards or sex. In fact, the mere intent and commitment to generosity can stimulate neural change and make people happier.
By choosing gifts from protected workshops that employ people with disabilities, we contribute to the lives of others. In the Czech Republic, we support Integration without Negation, a project whose aim is to show that people with disabilities can participate in the creation of quality products and services and integrate into society.
We buy locally whenever possible.
The buy-local movement, which sprang from early North American labor unions, is another interest we actively support.
For instance, when we’re looking for artisans, designers, and other creatives, we head to Tvoření všeho druhu, a Facebook community that brings together 28,000 members, some there to buy and some there to ply their wares. That’s where we found our jewelry and gift designer.
We are involved in societal issues important to us.
As another forward give, I created and, together with Tereza Kretinska, co-led a working group of women professionals, entrepreneurs, and managers in large, multinational corporations to explore the impact of the coronavirus on gender balance.
I launched the group to raise awareness and address gender balance in a researched-based way. Although the North American media raised the issue early on, women in the Czech Republic tended to suffer quietly from the added burden—a fact later proven by Magnoli Group, which partnered with us in the work.
Next year, we’ll focus on spreading even more positive change by offering our experience and know-how to educational institutions directly influencing the next generations.
Our goal is to help those who help our youth. We want to help shape the future of our young people so they can grow up in a more balanced, sustainable society. We know that if people feel good in life, they do good and make good decisions for the greater good.
We’ve already connected with one organization open to a partnership with us. We can’t wait to start and to report on how it works and what we learn.
Your turn: How can you give forward?
Doing something for the greater good with high motivation is a proven way to uplift your energy and recharge your batteries. It’s certainly recharged mine!
As you near the end of 2022, recall all the good you’ve done. Think about your plans for next year. And then speak about those good deeds and plans to recharge yourself and inspire others.
If you’d like, comment on this post to share your good works with Key&Spark and other readers.
You’ll find yourself uplifted. And instead of telling yourself that this season has left you tired and stressed, you’ll be able to say that this season is beautiful and that you can’t wait for the New Year to come.
As we close out 2022, I thank all my friends, colleagues, and clients. I wouldn’t be doing what I love without you.
Happy magic holidays.