- May 15, 2019
- Lis Williams
🎁 Giving is good for us!
It’s that simple. The research confirms it…
- Giving activates regions of the brain associated with pleasure, social connection, and trust, creating a “warm glow” effect.
- We feel more grateful when we give, and gratitude leads to happiness.
- Our health improves by reducing stress and strengthening our immune system.
- Altruistic behavior releases endorphins in the brain – such as oxytocin – producing the positive feeling known as the “helper’s high.”
But can a helper’s high be addicting?
Yes! And that’s not necessarily a bad thing. As long as we’re remembering the importance of self-care and taking steps to replenish ourselves, the risk of over-giving is low.
If, however, you find it difficult to know how much is too much, you might be at risk for burnout or “compassion fatigue” as it’s called in the industry. The reality is that burn-out is common among volunteers and professionals in the non-profit arena. Why?
Non-profit organizations have limited resources. Both financial and human capital are hard to come by and there just never seems to be enough of either. That’s why non-profits depend on a robust supply of volunteers to fill in the gaps.
If you volunteer, you might have experienced this. My clients tell me it can be challenging to feel like you’re already giving so much and then be asked for even more – whether time or money. You want to say yes, but you’re afraid if you do they’ll just keep asking.
So, who’s at risk of burn-out or compassion fatigue?
That is, if you’re already feeling overwhelmed by having too much do. Adding more stuff, even if it’s good stuff, can lead us to stress and frustration.
You’re also at risk if you’re an empath. Empaths are people who are high on the empathic spectrum and actually feel what is happening in others in their own bodies.
As a result, empaths can have incredible compassion for people, but they often get exhausted from feeling “too much” – unless they develop strategies to safeguard their sensitivities and develop healthy boundaries.
How do you avoid compassion fatigue?
The best (and easiest) solution is prevention. Here are some suggestions to keep you in prime form for healthy giving…
- Do a self-assessment before you give to be sure you’re in a good place financially and emotionally.
- Choose a cause you’re passionate about, so the time and commitment are meaningful and fulfilling.
- Share your natural gifts and talents, rather than agreeing to do something you don’t enjoy.
- Be clear up-front about how much you’re willing to give.
- Learn to say “no” and establish healthy boundaries.
- Be sure the positives of giving outweigh any negatives.
- Practice “compassionate detachment” – maintaining some distance between you and the cause or people served.
- Recognize when you’re beginning to feel frustrated or burnt-out and take a much-needed break.
Giving in any form should be something that results in meaning
and fulfillment – even though it can be challenging at times.
Making giving a way of life doesn’t mean you need to give until it hurts. We need you healthy, happy, and whole in order to make your AWE-thentic Impact in the world.
The need will always be there. Will you?
Be Bold. Be Daring. Be AWE-dacious!
- April 9, 2019
- Lis Williams
Despite the historically high level of divisiveness in our world today – there is one thing I think we can all agree on:
🤦 Overwhelm is Everywhere!
Even before the onslaught of Covid-19, our normal state of being was one of overwhelm. Working long hours, sacrificing vacation days, little free time to do things that bring us joy. And how many of us take time to sit in silence to be sure we receive the guidance we need to follow our calling and make a difference in the world?
Female Entrepreneurs & Execs are Overrun with Overwhelm
Many of my clients are female entrepreneurs or executives. In addition to managing their business or career, they typically have children and responsibilities at home that keep them running on a treadmill that never stops. There’s the shopping, cooking, cleaning, laundry, bills to pay, schedules to coordinate…and oh, so much more. Home schooling anyone?
Add to this the stress of ever-present technology…a barrage of texts and e-mails, social media accounts, and the fear-inducing updates from the news outlets. It’s no wonder our minds never stop, we don’t sleep well, and our to-do list just keeps growing.
Giving Back…or Over-Giving?
When a client tells me she wants to focus more on philanthropy or start giving back through her business, the first question we explore is whether or not now is the right time.
It’s not that I don’t want to encourage women to give. I just want to be sure they’re not “over-giving”. Because we women do have a tendency to do that – and it’s not healthy!
We give to everyone else first – to our families, friends, neighbors, schools, churches, communities, the world. And then we wonder why we’re exhausted, burnt out, angry, and resentful.
As you can imagine, this doesn’t make for good living or good giving. As challenging as it may be to sometimes say “no,” we must remind ourselves that we simply cannot give from empty cups.
10 questions to ask yourself to find out if you’re an over-giver…
Does this sound like you?
If so, you might be inadvertently contributing to the overwhelm in your life.
1. Do you sleep less than 7 hours a night?
2. Can you remember the last time you took a bath, read a book, or just sat in the silence?
3. Do you have a daily spiritual practice?
4. Do you exercise and eat well?
5. Do you disconnect from technology daily?
6. Are you the go-to person at home or at the office for planning events, birthdays, holiday celebrations?
7. Are you the person the school, church, non-profit, always asks to volunteer because they know you will?
8. Do you stay in toxic relationships or situations because you feel bad about removing yourself from them?
9. Do you have a hard time saying no when asked to do something – even (and especially) if you really don’t want to?
10. Are you having any fun? (Be honest here!)
For women who really want to intentionally give…
If a woman is already an over-giver but really wants to become more intentional and strategic with her giving, my question to her is what might she eliminate from her plate? What does she need to learn to say no to?
What busy work is getting in the way of her life’s work??!!
Now we’re getting into the nitty gritty. Are all the responsibilities really ours to bear? Are the things on our to-do list moving us toward our higher purpose? Are we following our life’s path – or have we taken a detour based on what everyone else wants or expects of us?
This desire she has – to become a philanthropist or humanitarian – to create a giving program for her company and include her team and clients in the effort…This is more than just another thing to add to the always growing to-do list. This is an opening – a doorway – that leads to her destiny if she’ll allow it.
She senses a calling from deep within…
She imagines a life that is more relaxed, joyful, meaningful. She wonders what it would be like to have the courage to live differently, counter-culturally even.
If you can relate, then I’m here to tell you there IS something more for you. A way of living that is more fulfilling and purposeful than perhaps you’ve ever permitted yourself to imagine. A way of living that allows you to get off the merry-go-round, write your own story, and make all your dreams come true.
I invite you to explore just what this might look like for you. Need help? I’m here for you…
Be Bold. Be Daring. Be AWE-dacious!
- March 6, 2019
- Lis Williams
7 in 10 Americans think companies have the obligation to take actions to improve issues that may not be directly relevant or related to their everyday business. They are expected to help solve social problems. That’s according to a 2017 study by Cone Communications.
Can Your Business Make a Social Impact? You Bet!
As a business owner or executive, here’s the awesome news – you’re in an ideal position to make a social impact! How? For starters, the skills and passion you and your team possess which enable you to make your business successful are often the same ones required to solve our most challenging social issues.
The best part is that you don’t have to wait until you’re well established or profitable to incorporate social impact into your business mission. Start now and watch your business grow as a result!
Heart-centered, mission-driven business leaders naturally infuse their companies with purpose. In fact, it’s at the core of everything they do. It flows from the company’s vision and mission and manifests itself in their culture, the way they treat employees, the customer experience, their interactions with suppliers, and the stand they take on societal issues.
Purpose Isn’t a Marketing Ploy – It’s Your Brand’s Essence
Let me be clear – purpose is not a marketing ploy – and it goes beyond just incorporating it into your mission statement. It is infused into your brand’s very essence.
When done right, it becomes a core component of your business model and a key competitive advantage. Purpose allows you to grow your business and positively impact the world – all at the same time. Talk about a win-win!
Ready to Make a Social Impact? Here’s How to Start:
1) Be Intentional and Strategic:
Employees and customers want to know your efforts are authentic and not just window dressing. Take time to plan out why, where and how you want to share your resources, and commit to providing support for the long-term. Being consistently engaged with a cause will increase the likelihood of making a meaningful impact.
2) Choose Your Cause Wisely:
If you’re a solopreneur or have just a couple of employees, the easiest way to choose a cause is to go with what you are passionate about. Even better, you can select a cause based on the interests of your team members. Ask them what they care about and choose an issue that resonates with many of them.
You can also choose an issue you believe would be important to your customer base. Don’t know what that social issue is? Find out – doing so can help you understand your customers on a deeper, more meaningful level. Finally, you can select a cause that aligns with the business you’re in. For example, if you own a technology company, you might support initiatives to get more kids involved in STEM through after-school programs. Really, the possibilities are endless…
3) Identify the Organization:
Once you decide what cause or issue you want to support through your business, you’ll then go through the process of identifying the best organization(s) to align yourself with. Selecting a local organization makes it easier to engage your employees in the effort, but you can always lend support at the national and international level as well through donations.
Your due diligence is critical here because you want to be sure to align your business with a reputable organization doing high quality work. After all, these are the standards you hold yourself and your team to – and they should be the same for your social impact.
4) Promote with Purpose:
This is the step that sometimes holds leaders back – telling their story. They’re afraid that if they share their “why,” people will think it’s self-promotion. But that’s not it at all. In fact, people want to hear it.
Yes indeed, they want to get to know who you are and what matters to you. They want to know you’re authentic, compassionate, and have passions that go beyond the boundaries of your business. They want to do business with a person they can relate to – not a cold, sterile company. And they want to purchase products and services where their money is making a difference.
Your team members want to know this as well. It helps them feel connected and involved with the cause you support and fosters a sense of pride and fulfillment in their work. It also increases your success in attracting, engaging, and retaining talent.
Share Your Story to Broaden Your Impact
Finally, you want to share the story of the cause you support and the organizations addressing it effectively because this multiplies your impact. This is not about you.
This is about the cause that is near and dear to your heart.
A cause that is causing pain to people or the planet and a cause that needs attention. And you have the platform to do something about it.
Think about this for a second: if you never gave a dime or volunteered your time – you can still have a significant impact just by using your voice to spotlight the issue(s) you care about.
So there’s no reason to feel shame when you shine a light on a social issue and the efforts being taken to solve it. Instead, feel a sense of satisfaction and pride in knowing you cared enough to do something about it.
Be Bold. Be Daring. Be AWE-dacious!
- January 7, 2019
- Lis Williams
When women learn about AWE Partners and our mission to encourage, inspire, and empower our community to make their AWE-thentic Impact in the world they get really excited. They imagine what it would feel like to use their resources to effect real change for themselves, their family, and the planet.
Yet every so often I’ll hear a woman say, “But I don’t know if I have anything to give.” What she means is she doesn’t think she has enough money to be able to give at a level that would make a difference. And maybe that’s true. Maybe she is at a point in her life where she needs every dollar she brings in to support herself, her family, and her growing business.
I get that! It’s absolutely imperative that we get our own financial house in order first.
But giving isn’t the only way to make an impact. You can make an impact on the health of yourself, your family, and the planet today by the choices you make when you shop. And it’s getting easier and easier to do just that.
You can make an impact by the choices you make when you shop.
I’ll never forget years ago having a discussion with my husband about my desire to begin shopping for healthier food, cosmetics, and cleaning products. He looked at me and said, “I don’t know if I can do this.” He thought it was going to be hard.
At the time our children were young, and we had just discovered that our 1-year old son could be completely healed of ear infections and the resulting over-use of antibiotics by switching him from cow’s milk to rice milk. It was that simple. This awakening led me to completely re-consider our choices when shopping for products we use every day.
Not long after I discovered the website for Environmental Working Group (www.ewg.org). Their mission is to empower people to live healthier lives in a healthier environment. It has become my go-to place for purchasing anything from cleaning products to beauty care to sunscreen.
But now I’m committed to going even further. Don’t tell my husband, but I’ve become fascinated with sustainable fashion and lifestyle choices.
Recently, I saw a Ted Talk by Aparna Mehta called “Where do your online returns go?”. In it she reveals that instead of ending up back on the shelves, billions of pounds of goods are sent to landfills each year!
Billions of pounds of returned goods are sent to landfills each year.
This led me to the Netflix documentary called “The True Cost”, which shows how the fast fashion industry depletes the earth’s resources and leverages slave labor to pass along a “cheap” cost to the end consumer. Companies such as Forever 21, H&M, Topshop, and Zara, are being called out for producing low quality merchandise at high volumes that don’t last and end up being thrown away. Add to that the toxic chemicals, dangerous dyes, and synthetic materials which seep into the water supply during production and when the garments are washed in our homes.
Lucy Siegle, author and journalist says,
“Fast fashion isn’t free. Someone, somewhere is paying the price.”
To counter this, slow fashion is a movement towards mindful manufacturing, fair labor rights, natural materials, and lasting garments.
Wouldn’t you like to feel good about the clothes you buy for yourself and your family?
Wouldn’t you like to ensure that nobody’s life is being threatened so you can have access to cheap, trendy outfits?
Of course, you would!!
So, I’m excited to share another resource that I’ve recently discovered called The Good Trade (https://www.thegoodtrade.com/), a digital media brand covering sustainable fashion and lifestyle. Created for those seeking to live an inspired and intentional life (and who among us isn’t???), The Good Trade was built on the fundamental idea that consumers are capable of driving significant social change through their everyday purchases, consumer preferences and lifestyle choices.
“Consumers are capable of driving significant social change through their everyday purchases, consumer preferences and lifestyle choices.”
YES! YES! And YES!!
You can be inspired and intentional!
You can be capable of driving significant social change!
You can make your AWE-thentic Impact each and every day by the choices you make when you shop!!
Now just in case you’re feeling a little like my husband did that day I sprung it on him that there were going to be some changes in the way we shopped…don’t worry. You don’t have to do this all at once. You can take baby steps.
Just choose one area of your life where you want to begin making shifts and feel good about any progress you make. Trust me you won’t look back. Just begin!
- October 31, 2018
- Lis Williams
The season of giving is upon us – a favorite time of year for women who care about social impact. But a donation is not the only way to make your AWE-thentic Impact. You can shop your way there as well!!
Shopping for a cause is nothing new – but are you doing it??
If not, I REALLY want you to think about unleashing your shopping superpowers to turn this year’s holiday gift giving into your Passion for Purpose!!
Profit + Purpose = Double Bottom Line
Social enterprises are organizations who change the world for the common good by focusing on business and social goals simultaneously. You can find social enterprises selling almost anything from apparel, jewelry, shoes, bags, and accessories, to home goods, paper goods, and toys. And the causes they support include women’s empowerment, housing, environmental sustainability, education, job training, and more.
Profit + People + Planet = Triple Bottom Line
Socially conscious women tend to base their buying decisions on how a company’s mission aligns with their personal values. And heart-centered entrepreneurs and businesses want their team members and clients to know they care about more than just making money.
Wouldn’t it be amazingly cool to know that when you purchase a gift you’re supporting a cause that is near and dear to your heart? So, what’s the easiest way to do this?
I know you’re busy, so I’ve chosen my favorite marketplaces where you can go for one stop shopping and know that your purchase is making a real difference. Shop by cause, location, or item. Buy just one or in bulk for your team and clients. In some cases, you can even customize an item with your company logo!
And don’t forget to share this guide with friends and family so they can unleash their Passion for Purpose, too. I promise – once you shop for impact you’ll be hooked!
AWE-Inspiring 2018 Holiday Gift Giving Guide
Packed with Purpose:
Founded in 2016 by Leeatt Rothschild, Packed with Purpose blends the best of two worlds: gifting and doing good. They’re a specialty gifting company with a social mission that discovers premium products that make a difference.
From granola made by female survivors of abuse to glass-blown wine stoppers that support teens affected by gun violence, their gifts create an impact. With pre-curated, customizable and brandable gifts, they help customers delight their recipients with unforgettable items that stand out AND create an impact. Each gift tells the story of their Purposeful Purveyors (aka suppliers) and how they positively impact people and communities around us. Whether you’re sending a gift to a client, colleague or friend Packed with Purpose gifts are sure to delight and leave a lasting impression.
Ethical. Sustainable. Fair Trade. Eco-friendly. Shop their website to find the perfect gift box here…
Gifts for Good:
Gifts for Good is an innovative, millennial-driven, and socially conscious start-up whose mission is to disrupt the world of business gifting. As an agent of change for both large corporations and smaller companies alike, Gifts for Good’s digital platform curates premium, posh, and purposeful gifts that give back. They make it super easy for companies to outsource their gift-giving and deliver unique gifts year-round, while also adding social impact.
The company provides everything from handmade candles to luxe leather totes and unique wooden headphones, all of which support a wide range of nonprofits and charitable causes including: children-in-need, economic development, environment, homelessness, health, women-at-risk and more. Currently, their gifts aid the work of over 40 nonprofits and social enterprises in 19 U.S. states and 65 countries across the globe.
Customers looking to utilize Gifts for Good are encouraged to shop the company’s online platform organized by charitable cause, product category, gift recipient or price. A large selection of premium products can also be customized/branded to provide corporate gifting solutions with a personalized touch. Gifts for Good also offers businesses a complimentary gifting concierge service that will provide personal assistance with finding the perfect gift to drive both business outcomes and social responsibility simultaneously.
Get your Goods here…
Global Goods Partners:
Co-founded by Joan Shifrin and Catherine Shimony as a not-for-profit social enterprise, Global Goods Partners (GGP) is committed to providing sustainable jobs for women—widely proven to be the key to community development and family wellbeing. In partnership with women-led, community-based organizations, GGP taps into the rich well of skill and artistry that is passed from one generation of women to the next. They invest all proceeds from product sales in developing sustainable market access as well as providing training and funding to enable their partners to prosper and thrive well into the future.
Since GGP first launched in 2005, they have partnered with over 60 artisan groups in more than 20 countries throughout Asia, Africa and the Americas, helping to design and bring to market the fair trade, handcrafted products they produce. Each artisan that creates products for GGP earns reliable, fair living wages and gains experience than can add benefit to all aspects of her life.
Shop for beautifully handcrafted products on their site and in shops around the US and abroad. Give a gift that has the power to lift women out of poverty and bring lasting positive change to artisans and their families around the world. They offer 10% off of the first order for new customers and free shipping on orders over $100! Shop now…
To The Market:
TO THE MARKET connects businesses and consumers to ethically-made, social impact goods created by vulnerable communities from around the world, creating a better outcome for people, the planet, and ultimately, better products.
TTM was founded by Jane Mosbacher Morris on the belief that the best way to empower survivors of abuse, conflict, and disease is to promote their economic independence. Many of these survivors are talented artisans who produce beautiful marketable goods that can be sold globally and ultimately create a sustainable livelihood. With this economic independence comes a new sense of direction and a path forward for these courageous survivors. TTM’s goal is to promote respect, dignity, compassion, and human kindness while creating self-sufficiency for people who simply need to be given a chance.
Head To The Market now…
- September 4, 2018
- Lis Williams
I’m so excited to share a profile of myself and AWE Partners that appeared in Forbes on-line last month. This proves that women are hungry for knowledge on how they can use their gifts and talents most effectively to address the litany of challenges facing our world today. Take a look…
If you’re one of those women, and I suspect you are since you’re a member of the AWE Community, then I hope you’ll consider joining me this fall for a virtual, small group, AWE-sum Mini-Course + Mastermind.
I’ll guide you through my signature process for creating your personalized Portfolio of Giving and get you on the path to AWE-thentic Impact!
Listen to my latest video blog where I touch on why the time is now for you to make this investment in yourself and in the world. We need you out there!
- August 7, 2018
- Lis Williams
We women love our girlfriends, don’t we? Together we laugh, cry, talk, listen, lift up, call out, and walk each other through this adventure called life. Whether it’s book club or Bunco, a quiet glass of wine or a night on the town, we couldn’t make it through without the support of our sisters.
So what if you could take this amazing group of friends you have, pool your resources, and make a significant impact on the causes that keep you up at night?
You can! Giving Circles have become hugely popular in the last decade and the momentum is building.
But whether you’re giving on your own or as part of a collective, the approach I suggest is still the same. It starts with adopting an investor mindset to giving. After all, you are making an investment in an organization with the expectation that they will achieve their mission and make headway in solving the problem they are addressing.
Learn more about the questions you should ask before creating or joining a Giving Circle in my latest video…
- July 2, 2018
- Lis Williams
Have you ever participated in a crowdfunding campaign?
Many times I’ve received requests through Go Fund Me to support friends and neighbors who are struggling. We’ve raised money to cover funeral costs. Or to pay for medical expenses due to an unexpected illness or tragedy.
I’ve also supported creative projects through Kickstarter and entrepreneurial start-ups through Indiegogo.
And I’ve added my name to signature drives through Change.org. Not exactly crowdfunding – but the same concept.
It’s all about a lot of people doing a little bit to support a cause – because together we can do more!
Crowdfunding is a fun way to participate in giving regardless of how much you have to share.
But is it the most effective approach to social impact?
Listen to my latest video blog to find out if crowdfunding fits into your journey to AWE-thentic Impact!
- May 4, 2018
- Lis Williams
Want to know the best way to get to know an organization before you make that significant donation or accept a board position?
Listen to this month’s blog video for 6 Reasons Volunteering is your best first step to Impact…
- April 6, 2017
- Lis Williams
Whew! We’ve gone through a lot of information about social impact. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, don’t worry. There’s no hurry and I’m not going anywhere. I’ll be right here by your side along your path to AWE-thentic impact.
If you’re not quite ready to pull out your checkbook or have “The Talk” with your financial advisor, that’s ok. There are plenty of other ways to get started. The important thing is that you begin where you are.
Begin where you are
I believe the best way to get to know an organization before donating or committing to a board position is to volunteer. Volunteering gives you a front-row seat to the inner workings of a non-profit.
You can either volunteer to do whatever they need or be specific about the skills and talents you would like to share. Either way, you will come to know the staff, their mission and programming, the culture of the organization, how things work (and don’t work), who they serve, and how effective they are.
Volunteering gives you a front row seat
Look for an organization in your community that is addressing a cause you feel passionate about. Or, if you want to step out of your comfort zone a bit there are a number of companies that help match you with an organization that can use your help. Here are a few of my favorites:
- Catchafire (catchafire.org): A community of individuals striving to push the social good sector forward by focusing on efficient and effective ways to give back. One way they do this is by matching professionals with nonprofits based on their skills, cause interest and time availability.
- Taproot Foundation (taprootfoundation.org): Connects non-profits and social change organizations with passionate, skilled volunteers who share their expertise pro bono. Through their programs, business professionals deliver marketing, strategy, HR, and IT solutions that organizations need to achieve their missions.
- Volunteer Match (volunteermatch.org): Believes everyone should have the chance to make a difference. That’s why they make it easy for good people and good causes to connect. They’ve connected millions of people with a great place to volunteer and helped tens of thousands of organizations better leverage volunteers to create real impact.
- WomenOnCall (womenoncall.org): Creates opportunities for professional women to volunteer in a more meaningful way by effectively and efficiently aligning their skills, expertise and interests with short-term, high-impact volunteer opportunities.
What are you waiting for? The world needs your gifts and talents, skills and knowledge, wisdom and love. Who knows where the path might take you? Just begin!