Sharing Experience: Kevin Ward
Can you be altruistic in business and successful?
I trust in the notion that what goes around comes around, and it doesn’t matter if you can or can’t see a payback for a given action. If it’s the right thing to do, you should do it. In general, I find that if you live life this way, everyone can be a winner, some more than others, but importantly, nobody loses. Simple, isn’t it?
However, the realities of life mean that sometimes it isn’t that straightforward and having that faith can be challenging. You may encounter people with different moral and ethical standards, who approach life looking purely out for themselves. They may well be successful and comfortable with taking that approach. But even if this seems more rewarding in the short term, ask yourself if you would genuinely feel that way if you were to compromise on your true moral and ethical feelings about how to conduct business, and your life.
Giving out to get back
For most of us, giving something back, whether it’s through working in a certain way, giving pro-bono help, volunteering for a charity or community group or otherwise, makes us feel good. It brings balance. When you weigh up the cost in terms of time for mentoring someone, volunteering for a charity or helping your local sports club, it might be nothing in the grand scheme of things. It will also be worth the positive impact you may have on others and give you a feeling of satisfaction.
Over the years, I’ve received help or gained new customers seemingly out of nowhere, although sometimes, upon digging, I’ve benefitted from a referral due to previous work, or a favour given. I’ve seen evidence of this with others, too; the payback is there, but it may not be obvious or direct.
For me, I love to do parkrun every week, but it’s time that can be hard-won, so I like to run as opposed to volunteer. But it is an event that relies on people giving up their time. So, my compromise is that I am a run director for the junior parkrun on Sunday. I feel I’m helping parkrun by volunteering, but in a way that still allows me to enjoy running on Saturdays.
It’s important to find balance; you may be able to spend lots of time helping a local charity or organisation, without it having a material impact on your work. However, if you’re working long hours and have family or other commitments, it may simply not be practical to give that time up. But you can still live altruistically and show consideration and care to people that may need support, perhaps by sending the odd message or making a phone call.
Ultimately, be true to yourself and have faith that living life according to your personal morals and ethics, can provide payback in business and home.