Help others, help yourself

One of the many challenges of a being a business owner is balancing business and benevolence. One can do a little good here and there, or make a concerted effort to align with one worthy cause.

My association and support of Hospice has spanned 20 years with my recent role being that of managing the brand of palliative care nationally. Annually the world comes together in October to celebrate World Hospice Palliative Care Day, and this year, instead of having an event at which only a few people can show their support, we conceptualised a virtual event called the Social Butterfly campaign. Our aim was to communicate the ethos of Hospice, which is quality of life. People do not easily talk about life-threatening illnesses, or palliative care, however, when sporting icons like Lucas Radebe, speaks, everyone sits up and takes notice. We secured high profile “butterflies” to start the butterfly effect – wearing temporary butterfly tattoos – so that people would ask them why, and they could then tell them about their support of those giving or receiving palliative care. Some people bought tattoos in memory of loved ones.

What inspired me most was the way in which people came forward to get the ball and the passion and energy with which they recruited others. I have yet to find someone who said no when asked to become a butterfly…

Everyone is capable of starting a movement, of using their influence to inspire and influence others to do good. Sometimes it is one small deed, one call, one meeting. We have wonderful stories of South Africans who mobilised their friends worldwide to get involved in this drive, and “selfies” of individuals, pairs and groups showing their support in a variety of ways. There is one photograph of a girl hanging upside down from trees to show her butterfly tattoos, and another of someone going the extra mile and getting a permanent butterfly tattoo!

Business is about being busy. Let’s stop being busy long enough to think about how you could practise benevolence.  Sometimes one small flap of your wings in your small space can create a tsunami on the other side of the world. Never restrain your thinking to what can only benefit you. Find something that makes you feel passionate, support it and start your movement.  Go out on a limb, do something special for someone else today – make this your week of waking up to the world around you, always considering someone’s needs before your own, especially in the world of work.