Should I Wait Until My Business is Bigger to "Give Back?"

This week's Conscious Contact Question was asked by someone who wishes to remain anonymous.

This Week's Question:

It's important to me that my business be a socially responsible one, including charitable giving and helping people that I know personally. Aside from the fantastic way it makes me feel, I'll admit it's also good marketing. I enjoy paying it back (or forward), and always feel like I want to do more than I already am. Sometimes, though, I feel taken advantage of, and like I can never quite get ahead. Where do I draw the line? Should I wait to do this until my business is bigger and stronger? How do I make this work for both myself and those I want to help?

Laura's Answer:

Great question! I'm so glad you asked!

I'm happy to say being a socially responsible business is becoming a new norm. Since we're in business to serve others as well as ourselves, it does seem like a perfect way to plan to grow your business.

Waiting until your business is bigger and you have "enough" is never going to happen, so delaying your giving is a big mistake and will cost you personally. But don't go giving away your time and money like crazy just yet.

Although you'd be wise to set up habits and systems from day 1, I'm wondering what's really behind your giving. Remember true generosity shouldn't hurt and it won't...if it honestly comes from a generous place. So I'm wondering...are you being generous or are you abandoning yourself and being manipulative...

Those are painful words to hear for a lot of people. We like to think of ourselves as good all the way through when we give. The idea of being an angel is an appealing one to us. But giving needs to be done in an appropriate way in order for it to honestly help others and ourselves.

You don't get more bonus karma points for suffering, for putting others first, when it means you've abandoned yourself. And if you don't have enough to meet your own needs but you're still giving, then you HAVE abandoned yourself, and you're basically giving from a place of nothingness, a place of debt.

If you're giving what you don't have, then it's not giving. It's doing a disservice to those you're involved with. You're actually bringing them into your debt. That's no kindness.

Giving money and time away out of guilt, fear, frustration, or the idea that then you're "in the clear" or that other people will owe you is simply a well disguised attempt to manipulate the universe and others into doing things your way so you can get what you want when you want.

I would ask you who are you giving to and why? What feelings are coming up for you before you give or in deciding What are your benchmarks for giving...are they based on time, profits, or guilt? And then I would take a hard look at how you create and hold boundaries and priorities. I would bet the answer is "not well."

You see we need to set up the systems in our business the way we want them to run. Systems reflect our values and are, believe it or not, incredibly personal. Boundaries are an integral part of systems. You can't set up a successful business without knowing your values, boundaries, and self very very deeply.

But that means we need to take a rigorous look at ourselves and have a lot of deep, strong honesty about who we are and why we're doing things. Chances are when you do this you're going to run into some very uncomfortable truths. That's when we need to get some get some new personal skills to not only handle the truth, but allow us to function in an easier way in this world. There is great power here and an enormous ability to serve.

You can't do this alone. It's simply not possible to work on ourselves and grow to a new level with the mindset and tools we already have in place. You MUST work with others – either individually or in a group – in order to shift.

If any of this is difficult to understand, I invite you to join me in my next 4-week group coaching session starting in just a few weeks on May 28 to address how you can truly shift your money and your business. Early-bird discount expires on May 8.

Simply contact me here for more details and to register.

Much love,

P.S. The Q&A on Conscious Contact is a weekly no-cost feature for those who are looking to grow their business mindfully with direction and support. Each week I respond to one question sent to me via my website or asked in person that I believe will help the most people. To ask YOUR question, contact me through my website at or reply to this email.

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