Do Good To Feel Good And Make More Money

In the language of the Buddha, giving is one of the ten perfections of a Bodhisattva, a highly Awakened person who postpones his or her enlightenment to bring all beings to liberation.

In modern times, there’s plenty of research demonstrating that people who give of either their time or their money are happier and are more likely to be satisfied with their lives.

  • Stanford School of Medicine has created a new center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education, to study the brain’s role in compassion and altruism.
  • Neuroscientists from Duke University Medical Center in North Carolina have found a region in the brain that determines whether we put others before ourselves in an article called The Science of Altruism.
  • Dan Siegel, author of MindSight says, “The illusion of our separateness creates suffering and discontent. Even the simplest of studies reveals that when spending money on other or ourselves, those who spend money to benefit others feel better.” Siegel calls this transpirational integration. “With transpirational integration, we see ourselves as a part of a whole, a member of this continuity across time and space that grounds us in the present and links us to a larger reality of the flow of life.”
  • In addition, Arthur C. Brooks wrote an article in the November 2007 Portfolio magazine, Giving Makes You Rich, which presents research that demonstrates that people who give money to charities end up wealthier than those who don’t give to charity.

Some ways you can practice generosity

Giving is considered “doing” and generosity involves “being,” and they are linked together. For example, I might give money to someone I care about and not give money to a homeless person on the street. If I am truly a generous person, I don’t restrict my giving in a conditional way; it is a practice and a combination of being and doing.

In your business, a practice of generosity is contributing free content on the Internet to your tribe or freely sharing the secrets of your success. It might mean taking the time to handwrite a thank you note to someone for a job well done or to thank someone for his or her generosity. It might be to express gratitude and appreciation to your staff, or volunteer your time to an agency in need.

One of the tenets of my life and work is being generous. Since 1999, I have contributed thousands of dollars to non-profit organizations through my company. In addition, I modeled generosity for my employees by asking each of them which organization would they like the company to contribute to in their name. In addition to giving financially, I also served on the board of a non-profit for seven years.

Last year after reading Half The Sky: Turning Oppression Into Opportunity for Women Worldwide, I decided to just do it and created Women Heal The World, which is a program I started to raise funds for women’s causes. I volunteer my time to introduce The Work of Byron Katie in exchange for a donation to Women for Women International or another non-profit organization for women. I’ve structured this program so participants donate directly to a non-profit and receive a tax deduction for the fee to the class. I just launched this program and in the first few teleclasses, we raised enough funds to support at least four women through Women for Women International for one year.

  • How do you practice generosity in your business?
  • Do you share content willingly and freely?
  • Do you practice generosity in your personal life?

Giving isn’t just good for others – it’s good for you

To truly live an agile life, I encourage you to do one thing as a practice of giving and to embody generosity as a spiritual practice. Erik Erikson, said that in the middle of our life (from age 35 to 65) our developmental task is to practice generativity. Our strength comes through the caring of others and the production of something that contributes to the betterment of society. This helps connect us to our soul and will help create the feeling that you are making a difference in the world. We are all looking for meaning in our lives. I believe this is one way to feel like your life has meaning.

So I challenge each of you to do one thing – it can be as small as helping an elderly person cross the street, or dropping coins into a holiday collection for those who need help during the holidays. Make generosity part of your life, and helping others will help you feel better and earn more money.

Here’s three things you can do right now!

  1. Get involved with The Girl Effect
The Girl Effect

The Girl Effect

The Girl Effect, n. The unique potential of 600 million adolescent girls to end poverty for themselves and the world.

2.  Get involved with Kiva Microloans and support a woman in business –
3.  Donate to Women for Women International and support a woman to get an education, learn her rights and learn job skills –

Sherold Barr helps thirty-somethings and boomer women reinvent their careers, make money in their businesses, and discover how to live a meaningful life. She is a Master Coach certified by Martha Beck Inc, and a facilitator in The Institute of The Work of Byron Katie. Before taking up coaching, she spent 20 years as a communication strategist working with the world’s largest healthcare IT software companies. Her boutique business earned six figures and clients came to the company all through word of mouth. Learn more about her at and check out her latest project Women Heal The World.