How does generosity benefit the money mindset?
As an entrepreneur who wants to make the world a better place, and in my relationships with many other small business owners, I find that trying to get and keep my business in alignment with my values is a year-round effort. But the holiday season and the approaching year-end always get me seriously reflecting on what I value and what my team and I have accomplished.
And when my tax professional hints that I should start getting together my receipts for the year, including receipts for my monthly donations to various nonprofits — I remember I can still do more good before the year ends!
You probably already know that it feels good to volunteer or give possessions such as clothes, food, even cars to charity. It can take us out of our problems and help us feel grateful for what we have.
But the benefits you can experience from taking generous action are more than that. It’s good for your money mindset and can help you identify things to work on next year.
The circle of positive action
Challenging ourselves to be more generous with our money, time, and other resources is empowering because it demands we have faith in ourselves that we will bring more in and manage it well.
It’s empowering to accept the reality that money must flow in and out of our lives. It’s even empowering to accept that we have worry or fear about money — and we have tools to handle those emotions!
Perhaps you’ve been affected by an unreliable social safety net. You may have experienced food and housing insecurity, or maybe not. But you’ve noticed that the context of our lives constantly tries to stimulate us to be worried about money, constantly afraid, angry, or wanting to hoard money.
I find that taking generous action helps me be alive to the generous acts of others. It highlights the circle of positivity and mutual caring behavior. It breaks the cycle of fear, and it shows me the sacred circuit of giving and receiving which connects us all.
Revelation through giving
With a piece of scratch paper or a spreadsheet, calculate how much money you gave away this year. You don’t have to be exact, but try to include all tax-deductible nonprofits, political candidates or organizations, and personal gifts you paid for.
Now challenge yourself to give a little more than that next year… No, a little more than that… What about a little more than that?
Can you identify the amount of money that causes feelings to come up for you? It may help to actually open one of those nonprofits’ websites and type a number into the donation field to see how it feels.
Okay, let’s pause here and write down the number of dollars that inspired those feelings. Compare that amount of money to how much you spent on entertainment for yourself, your grocery bills, or how much money you put away into your retirement account. At this moment, we get to identify our uncertainties and practical difficulties.
I like to do this by asking myself questions. For me, it’s important to ask myself questions with love and compassion, open myself to curiosity, and take care not to invalidate my feelings or needs. After all, generosity includes not just money but also other things, and in some cases, they’re things I can give myself as well as others. For example, being non-judgmental, having and giving space, time, and appreciation.
Here are the questions for identifying the uncertainties:
Where are these feelings located in the body? What are they about?
There’s a good chance that they’re about my needs. Which needs might not be met if I give away this much money? (Examples: paying the bills, having fun, feeling proud.) What kinds of things can I do to meet those needs?
Why do I believe (at some level) that I need to keep this money to get my needs met? Am I concerned I won’t be able to generate more income? Am I worried that I might not manage it well when money comes in?
What makes generating more income hard? What makes it easy? What skills, values, and other positive qualities do I have for creating revenue?
What makes money management hard? What makes it easy? What skills, values, and other positive qualities do I have for managing money well?
What can I do to better hold onto the knowledge that I have these positive qualities that have helped me with income generation and money management?
What do I need to learn about generating and managing my income? Is there anything blocking me from learning more about these things? What can I do about that?
As a final note, this exercise does not end with actually giving away so much money that you suffer. Instead, we’re getting clear about our needs and strengths so that we can truly identify how much money we can give and give generously with a heart full of love and joy.
Taking action with a generous heart
It feels good to take action to alleviate suffering in the world! In addition to giving to strangers through charitable donations, having a generous mindset includes paying well, tipping well, and giving your employees bonuses.
Did you know that you might be able to set up a company giving program with your payroll service, such as Gusto, so that your employees can donate to nonprofits directly from their paychecks?
You can even set up an employer matching program to support employee morale, as well as your goal of having a values-driven company culture.
Bliss Your Money can help you start using Gusto, budget for next year’s charitable giving and employee bonuses, or help you with release work around generosity. If you want to DIY and need support, join one of our Financial Bliss Masterminds — we have a program for solopreneurs and a parallel offering for sex workers. Bliss your day!