Renewed by the end of Summer and the case for Corporate Social Responsability

Refresh Yourself

Summer has come to an end and I feel renewed. Now don’t get me wrong, it was a long summer and things haven’t slowed down because it is Fall. In the last few months I have had many meetings, long business trips, late working days, and further discussions about the things that consume much of my attention. Between home and work, life has just been simply busy. Still, as I think of this Summer, I feel renewed; overflowing with memories that build momentum for me to remain committed and engaged with all that is going on in my life.

Some of the memories that fill my mind and generate this positive energy?
Taking mornings out of my work schedule to start the day sharing a cup of coffee with my wife…
Reading more books that feed both the heart and the brain (finishing John Piper’s The Pleasures of God and enjoying Joseph McCormack’s Brief)…
Spending more time with my children just talking and getting to know who they are deep inside…
Reconnecting with friends and family, and inviting new people into my life…
Opening our home to our community and serving people for who they are…
Helping a friend move into his new home…
Recommitting to speaking Portuguese more often with my family (this is a big one)…
Going on a road trip…
Attending a soccer game (Liverpool 2-0 AC Milan)…
Taking long walks on the beach…
Waking up to the see the sun-rise and taking the time to watch it go down…
Taking a day off work to do nothing but play hard with my family (Defygravity is awesome)…
Running 4 to 5 miles twice a week (just me and the road ahead)…

I could go on. It’s a simple list of memories made up of events both big and small, but each with a meaning that serves to push me forward when the stress of life starts to creep up.

We all go through those moments when life is just too busy and hectic. What do you do to regain your energy levels? I’ve learned that it is the way one responds that ultimately stabilizes our vision. It provides additional angles to our perspective of things.

For me it helps to spend time with my family; It reminds me of why I do what I do. And when I help others, this allows me to understand my situation in a different light. I believe this is why more and more businesses are pushing for their employees to focus on community initiatives. It is more than a PR move. Yes, helping the community you serve with your business is important but it is much more than a “photo pop.”

The case for Corporate Social Responsibility

In a 2004 article published in the Economist we see the arguments for why corporate america should and should not focus on social responsibility. While the message focuses on the impact of company resources on the environment, the same arguments can be made for any opportunity to serve the people that buy the product or use the widget your business provides.  Still, I believe the impact is two-fold (which is what is missing from the article linked above); not only are businesses caring for their communities, but the people that make up the enterprise are growing in the experience of giving of their own resources – time and money.

This practice is not as common in Portugal so I’ve learned much from my experience in the US. I will never forget the year 2005 as one where myself and a group of co-workers volunteered to build a house with Habitat for Humanity. The opportunity to do something so selfless allowed me to understand my position when compared to others. How fortunate I am. How blessed I am. That experience alone was a catalyst for much humility. But it also provided me the desire to be more engaged with the company I worked with, knowing that it supported the communities it served. That was motivation to work even harder.

If you are a business owner, are you providing the opportunities for your workers to serve their community? Are you allowing them to grow in this process of selflessness? The rewards of employee motivation are real in these acts.