Richard Branson once said ‘if you aren’t making a difference in other people’s lives you shouldn’t be in business -it’s that simple’

Many would agree with this perspective and yet it may be one that divides professionals in business at some level. The majority would agree that their product or service needs to tackle and resolve a problem that people are seeking a solution to. However, it’s how professionals operate that starts to expose some conflicts.

There are differing motivations and forms of approach out there in the business world. For some, they merely want to have the freedom to run their business successfully enough to pay the bills and have enough profit to service a lifestyle that looks after family beyond mere survival. Others want to make a boatload of money and be hugely successful, with a more lavish lifestyle.

Then there are those who are more purpose driven in that they care about humanity and the wider world and really seek to align their business with meeting those needs so the world can be a truly better place at all levels of operation.
Many of us have witnessed the good, the bad and the indifferent in business. Even good intentions in business practice can derail under pressure such as cash flow if left unchecked.

What has become more evident is that the practice of launching a product or service out there, followed by aggressive marketing and persuasion tactics to make the customer buy, is becoming less successful and more redundant. We cannot simply operate a business in a way that makes the customer fit our product.

The return to a more socially conscious approach to business is gaining traction and reaping lasting rewards. Forbes has recently warned that businesses who ignore a certain trend will not last beyond the next 4-7 years. So it would appear that critical re-evaluation is required to make sure we are truly serving those who seek our solution, and not the other way round.

Forbes was alluding to something that can be described as strategic philanthropy – combining making money through doing good. Of course this has many different expressions.

I recall when I first came across this expression in my mastermind group I was unclear as to its meaning. However, since childhood, I had been clear about wanting to deploy my gifts and talents in a way that could help humanity on a larger scale, particularly those who were stuck in survival issues.

But beyond spontaneous acts of giving and small projects along the way, I struggled to weave them both together for so many years, due to low income.

The idea of working simply to have a decent lifestyle and acquire material things for my own pleasure always felt short of appealing. People mattered to me more than things, but I did dream about having abundant resources so that I could contribute to humanity in a big way.

However as much as I got into structured giving such as sponsoring a child in Kenya and the Philippines for a few years, along with spontaneous acts of giving, I struggled with the money side of things, largely due to low income. I was by some descriptions a broke philanthropist.

My money story and struggles meant that there was always this glass ceiling in my mind just above my head, and for many years I felt trapped by that.It restricted my capacity to give.

I remember a few years ago listening to Angelina Jolie’s acceptance speech when given a humanitarian award. She spoke of two things – gratitude and pain. Her gratitude was that she considered herself fortunate to have grown up in an environment where she could discover and develop her gifts and talents; at the same time to use the resulting wealth to support her philanthropic desires, which go beyond merely giving money to support causes.

Her pain was that somewhere across the globe was a woman with similar gifts and talents, except that she lived in a refugee camp, with no voice to her name or roof over her head; for whom each day was about working out how to stay alive and keep her children alive.

Her pain was that somewhere across the globe was a woman with similar gifts and talents, except that she lived in a refugee camp, with no voice to her name or roof over her head; for whom each day was about working out how to stay alive and keep her children alive.

When I heard this it made me cry because it spoke to a similar gratitude and pain that had been an undercurrent within me for so many years. However, my cultural and educational upbringing along with the many messages coming out of the church I attended at the time, such as money being the root of evil, rendered me in a state of constant conflict. Beyond being broke I felt that my dream was broken. Maybe you can relate.

But the dream never left me, and as I look back over the last 10 years I can see recall the turning point and processes that have brought me to where I am now. It has been fascinating to observe how I managed to evolve and close that gap significantly.

Like many business owners, I got stuck in a time for money trap with my coaching services, which limited the delivery of value, and whilst I have since rebranded, the real journey that prefaced this was so much deeper, and one of personal transformation based on acknowledging and building around core values in a deeper way.

Out of that, I have now birthed my own inspirational book Breaking Free. I also find myself co-hosting this year’s Strategic Philanthropy Global Summit with Tom Matzen, speaking with highly successful entrepreneurs who have learned to combine doing good with making money at the same time.

There were no coincidences in how this opportunity came to me. Furthermore, it has provided another platform from which to evaluate how I develop, shape and direct strategic philanthropy in my own business.

If you want a context to re-evaluate your business given what Forbes has said, please why not join us at The Strategic Philanthropy Global Summit. Come and get inspired, connect and collaborate. It is free to register and listen in live.

The recordings will be available for sale thereafter, with half the gross proceeds going to KIVA microloans. You can see all the details here for the event which kicks off on Tuesday 13th June 2017. See you there?

Anita Narayan

One of the things I have been quoted on in mainstream media was my take on success. I shared that success is like a coin – the being and doing aspects are directly linked. If you want lasting success and fufillment it is important to work both sides of the coin.

We live in a society that predominantly measures success by the grades you get in your exams, the money you earn and the lifestyle possessions you acquire. Whilst that is one measure of success, it has unfortunately led to an imbalance in the way success is defined and experienced.
For example so many people operate a definition of success that only allows them to feel good about themselves when they are achieving something.

There are 3 challenges with this:-

• That perspective of success defers the feel good factor and can rob a person of joy in the journey.
• It also emphasizes the ‘doing’ side of the coin in order to feel good.
• A person can end up reducing themselves to a set of executable tasks which when completed successfully, lead to the achievement in question.

If a person is to experience lasting success and fulfilment, it is important to reconsider and move toward a new definition of success that embraces other important factors. Since life is happening now, and the place we spend the most time is in our skin, success needs to embrace happiness and well-being in the present and not just the future.

The irony is that if a person can learn to access joy and happiness in the present without it being attached to an achievement, the vibrancy that results will act as fuel that aids momentum towards the achievement of a dream.

In fact the capacity to experience joy in the present moment from a place of unconditional love toward self are strong foundation principles for building and enhancing success.

The first steps to realigning to a more holistic definition of success is to pause and acknowledge that the definition you may have bought into has been influenced by society’s emphasis yet has led to an imbalance in experience.

Secondly, decide to redefine success on your terms. Consider the values you wish to build on, and the relationship with yourself you wish to enjoy, and reinstate those values, and tend to your well-being on a regular basis. Learn that the place from which you take action is as important as the action itself – there is a difference between acting from joy as opposed to obligation for example.

When you address these being aspects, over time you will start to feel a more complete feeling of success and a greater joy and appreciation for life each day.

In a recent CNN report professional golfer Tiger Woods inferred that self-esteem is directly tied to career when he stated that he had nothing to look forward to. The context for this remark was the news that he required further back surgery, which would put him out of action indefinitely.

Whilst a comment like this could be a knee jerk reaction to the disappointing news, Tiger Wood’s comment seemed to be more enduring in nature as this is not the first time he has voiced such despondency in the wake of required treatment for injury.

These are not the words of a man who has been denied success on the golf course. In fact at 40years of age he already has 14 major championship titles to his name and is considered one of the all-time golfing greats. So what was he communicating through his remark?

Woods was very candid in saying that due to the lack of timescale and lack of certainty about his recovery he was finding it very hard to adjust to on a mental level. How do you navigate such disappointments without compromising self-esteem?

From my observations in life, football and coaching, his comment seems to voice what so many people think and believe; namely that self-esteem is directly connected to career success. The challenge with this perception is that you set yourself up for an unstable experience when it comes to feeling good about yourself. Self-esteem becomes something of a roller coaster experience.

And this is one of many ways you can identify whether you have an issue with self-esteem – simply by how you feel about yourself when you are not achieving something. The idea that self-esteem can only be truly experienced when you are achieving something needs to be challenged.

So many people operate a definition of self-esteem that is heavily toward external factors such as circumstance and achievements. It is easy to understand why when you look at the education system and a society that primarily judges success by external factors such as money, status and possessions.

Before adversity struck, I operated from a very similar association with self-esteem. My identity was solely in my career, and I could not feel good about myself unless I was achieving things. I achieved many amazing things too.

You may think there is nothing wrong with that. However the issue is not a moral one. It is more about what makes for joy and happiness on a consistent basis. So many people who have been successful like Tiger Woods are finding out from experience that career is not enough to sustain happiness.

I was one of them, and fortunately I discovered the hard way, that three things needed to change in order to redress the empty gap. Use these as tips to help you too.

1. I needed to be honest about the poor quality of the relationship with myself
2. I needed to make a decision to change that
3. I needed a process that would bridge the gap and change my perception and self-definition

You see circumstances can come and go, but there is a difference between enhancing your happiness through circumstances and achievements versus creating happiness from those things. This is something I expand on from my own life experience including sports, in my book Breaking Free.

I applied a series of tweaks that set me free from low self-esteem. The difference at source was like that 1mm tweak of a golf club which impacted destination over distance and time. I think Tiger Woods would relate to that analogy.

Ultimately I discovered that self-esteem is not about denying your humanity in the face of disappointment and adversity. It is about a bond you have with yourself that is based on unconditional love. It is about a self-definition that can extract life from life with gratitude, authenticity and joy.

It is that relationship which allows you to feel disappointment without negatively absorbing it into the relationship you have with yourself. That same loving relationship helps you keep perspective and navigate disappointments with greater ease to support healing and recovery.

My greatest joy has been to share and facilitate this process of growth within others, and watch as they embrace life with a new found enthusiasm and joy, as well as become more productive and accomplished.

If you need and love inspiration then by all means discover what I learnt and applied from my powerful journey in my book and song Breaking Free. You can listen to the song for free – my gift to you