My team and I spent yesterday afternoon doing something fundamentally crucial for the future of our company.  We didn’t have an offsite strategy session or an inspiring sales meeting.  We didn’t have a great client meeting or close a big deal.  No, we spent the afternoon giving back to the community.

We visited My Sister’s House, which is part of the Atlanta Mission ( My Sister’s House is a wonderful program that helps mothers (and their children) who are homeless, have drug/alcohol issues or have survived domestic abuse to get back on their feet.  The families are sheltered, fed, clothed, counseled, given skills training and enrolled in local schools.  The challenges these mothers and children have had to face are beyond the understanding of most people.  You would have to see and hear for yourself to truly comprehend the issues faced by people we may drive by and not notice each day on our way to work.  These good people are our neighbors.  They are our brothers and sisters.

Why was our time spent at My Sisters House crucial for the future of our company?  We gave back to others in a selfless way.  Our team saw the other side of life and gained a finer appreciation for our blessings.  We spent our own money to buy gifts for over 30 children and our company paid for all of these children to go to the Georgia Aquarium in late December.  We spent the afternoon playing games with the children, talking to them and letting them know we cared about them.  It was a very special time and our team left the building with a tinge of sadness and a strong desire to find additional ways to give back to others.

I want to work in a company that does these sorts of things and with people who truly care about others.  I don’t want it to be all about the bottom line.  We need profits to have a business, but we also need to be good corporate stewards and share our good fortune with others who are struggling to merely survive.  I am proud of our team and what we did for those kids.  I am even prouder that we want to do it again…as soon as possible.

We are not angels and certainly not saints, but we did take 4 hours on a hectic Monday afternoon to give back to others.  How about organizing a group at your company and doing the same thing this Advent?

But you were always a good man of business, Jacob,’ faltered Scrooge, who now began to apply this to himself.

Business!’ cried the Ghost, wringing its hands again. “Mankind was my business; charity, mercy, forbearance, and benevolence, were, all, my business. The deals of my trade were but a drop of water in the comprehensive ocean of my business! – Charles Dickens (A Christmas Carol)

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