There is a whole host of ways that we can give back, whether it’s through volunteering, working on community projects, or offering our unique skills as a trustee or advisor. Of course, it’s always easy to just donate some cash and feel that we’ve done our bit, but clinical psychologist and personal branding consultant Dr. Lisa Orban of www.goldennotebook.co.uk suggests that rolling up our sleeves and getting involved can have such a positive impact on us and our own personal brands. She explains why…
The Feel Good Factor
For a start, we shouldn’t underestimate the power of the “warm glow” effect. This emotionally positive experience is an accepted psychological benefit that appears to be deeply rooted in human nature and is found in many cultures and strata of society. Simply put, helping others can feel good.
But on a deeper level, giving back opens up huge possibilities for personal growth, and adding serious gravitas to your personal brand. It’s a secret that celebrities have known for many years, and it’s not all about publicity as the cynical may think. Look at high profile figures like Angelia Jolie, who has morphed from an actress and gossip column fodder into a respected international figure as a UN envoy. Actor and author Stephen Fry is also cherished as the respected figurehead of non-profits such as Mind and The Terence Higgins Trust. He is known for personally mingling at charity events, rather than merely gracing the programme with his name.
Being socially responsible provides a win-win for everybody involved. Rather than merely telling people what you can do, you are showcasing your skills and just getting on with it. It also offers many opportunities to learn new skills, meet people you would have otherwise never come into contact with, and learn more about yourself in the process.
The “How To”:
Choose your cause
With so many charities and causes out there, looking to your own values and passion is a good place to start. Ask yourself:
What specific causes and principles move you (e.g., justice, the fight against poverty,
community)? Which of these do you stand for?
What are your five top passions (what excites you most in the world)?
What angers you most in the world?
When you look back on your life, what will you be remembered for?
Above all, think about causes or charities that resonate with you for personal or professional reasons.
Evaluate your level of commitment
Rather than rush into committing every weekend, start slowly and build up. Think about what you have to offer in terms of both skills and time. Be realistic. If you run a financial firm and know that you can barely grab a coffee come to the end of tax year time, you need to factor your availability into your plans.
Likewise, don’t commit to running a 10k if you know you simply haven’t got the time to train for it. Opt for a 5k or moonwalk and be happy you are getting involved on a level that you know you can deliver.
Think about what engages you. If you love to host, you could hold a tea party to raise funds. If you’re more of an introverted character who prefers in-depth one to one contact, offering time to a helpline like the Samaritans may be preferable.
Think about any special skills you have that others rely on, or ask yourself (or others if you are brave) what traits make you a valuable member of your team, community or family? Consider whether you want to offer your help and professional skills as an extension of what you do at work (offering to help with marketing if you are in marketing already, for instance), or would prefer to do something different.
An easy way to start is by asking around to find out what others are doing and ask them about their experiences.
Get on with it!
The next step is to research what charities are in that arena and get in contact. If you don’t hear back straight away, don’t get discouraged. It’s possible that even just following up on offers of help takes resources that they may not have. At some point, you will find something that is right for you. Once you’ve started to become engaged, do tell people what you’re up to. Not only will this enhance your brand, but it also helps spread the word about the charity. This can be done via social media, in conversation, or inviting friends to an event. If it’s a cause that touches your heart, it may do the same for others.
By Lisa Orban of www.goldennotebook.co.uk
Bringing together her extensive training, experience, and passion in both psychology and branding, Lisa Orban founded Golden Notebook. A clinical psychologist, Lisa trained and practiced in New York City for eleven years before relocating to London. Lisa takes a unique approach to personal branding that combines psychological assessment and theory with branding strategies to create for powerful and enduring individual change and personal impact. She is currently offering a limited number of free introductory consultations.