Last month I had the opportunity to visit Bali for the first time. Besides the fascination with the lush vegetation and the vast amounts of offerings, I was delighted to meet a very special person, and through her, a hidden are in the island. She runs an organization that supports children in various forms “I’m an angel” (www.imanangel.net). Viebeke, the founder and major organizer, explained their philosophy: “we don’t give, we share.” I found it especially appealing as I don’t believe in the traditional form of charity. When I give, I received. It’s never about money, it’s always about value. Simple as that.
Sharing is a natural part of human kind, we share the wealth we create, and likewise we share poverty; we share happiness, and we equally share dramas. We share more worries than anything else. In these days of financial crisis, everyone is worried, yet, every crisis opens doors to opportunities, and few people are talking about that, much less taking action. Because I’ve lost a ton of money, I have slowed down and enjoyed life more. You can do the same, it is a healthier alternative than worrying. For example, now that the holidays are approaching, you can make a gift; I mean, make it, instead of buy it… and by the way, studies have shown that the best gifts, the ones that stay with us longer in memory, are shared moments. I actually remember more the time spent cooking than the presents we opened.
Sharing forces us to take action. I love the term. When we share we imply that we are useful to others, in a way that is more horizontal than vertical. We are not the giver, we are the sharer… and our counterpart is not the receiver but the other part of the sharer. I had the opportunity to experience it when I visited the North East coast of Bali, an area that has been greatly affected by drought. Amongst other things, “I’m an angel” has a program that provides protein twice a week to school children, one egg and one glass of milk, costing cents... A tiny effort with a huge impact on their health. In one day, we touched 506 young children in a joyful celebration: we were sharing. The cost was less than US$130 dollars. How could I not share?
I am glad I made the decision to get out and do something different, instead of worrying. My friend Sylma hosted a prelaunch conversation of the book "Falling in love with your life", and I decided to donate the launching profits to “I’m an angel.”
When you think about sharing, you can act differently. You share your time with your employer, your employer shares the wealth you all create with clients, employees, suppliers, investors, and the list goes on and on… it is refreshing.
Sharing is also a great way to rethink investment opportunities. Several days ago, I was on a Venture Capital panel. The entrepreneurs were concerned about the financial crisis: yes, fewer deals get funding, but Venture Capital Funds need great deals, the money needs to be invested, but invested wisely. At the end, we all benefit when great deals get funded and when lousy deals don’t get funded. We share the wealth we create.
Maybe I am being too naïve to think that we all share for the best. The financial crisis was also part of our sharing: our need to maximize profits, or, to some extent, our greed.
So, what are you sharing?