There is a Chinese saying that goes: “If you want happiness for an hour, take a nap. If you want happiness for a day, go fishing. If you want happiness for a year, inherit a fortune. If you want happiness for a lifetime, help somebody.” According to a recent article in Time magazine, some of our world’s greatest thinkers have suggested the same thing: Happiness is found in helping others.
While International Happiness Day is celebrated this year on March 20, there are so many reasons to experience the happiness that results from giving back to your community and causes you are passionate about all year long—both personally and as a woman business owner. For one, giving back has a positive effect on your body. Studies show that when people donated to charity, the mesolimbic system, the portion of the brain responsible for feelings of reward, was triggered. The brain also releases feel-good chemicals and spurs you to perform more kind acts—something psychologists call the “helper’s high.”
Here are a few more reasons to consider ways to “do good:” Experts say people who volunteer have been found to have higher self-esteem, better overall well-being and a greater sense of belonging and purpose. When you help others, you also send out messages of positivity, which can rub off on your peers and co-workers and improve your relationships. Having a positive impact on someone else’s life can also change your own attitude and outlook—boosting your mood and making you more optimistic. It can even reduce stress—one study showed that 78 percent of people who volunteered over a 12-month period felt calmer and more peaceful than those who didn’t.
The theme of this issue of NAWBO ONE is exactly this—Doing Good. There are so many ways we do good as women and women business owners every day, from simply supporting and nurturing our family and friends to making giving back part of our business values and culture year round. We have some great articles for you on this topic. Our Member Spotlight features a woman-owned business whose mission is to help women save money, make money and feel great about themselves. Our Chapter Spotlight is on our Raleigh, North Carolina, sisters who host an event around giving back to the community in March. And, of course, we have some great business advice on how giving back is good business—it can result in everything from improved employee retention and engagement to stronger customer relationships.
Additionally, this month’s issue features an exciting opportunity for you to come together with your NAWBO sisters to do good by supporting women business owners in developing countries. This year’s Opportunity International Insight Trip on November 3-9 is taking NAWBO members to Colombia for a weeklong exploration of the country’s beauty, culture and inspiring women business owners. It’s going to be a fun trip with a perk: a chance to give back!
I encourage you to think about how doing good makes you feel for a moment and how you can integrate more of it into your personal and business life. I know I feel at my most passionate and engaged when I’m taking action to help others, whether it’s in my community, in my own business or through my board service on the NAWBO National Board of Directors. Doing good is good.
—Molly Gimmel, 2018-2019 NAWBO National Chair