One of my favorite organizations in the Chicago area is the Ignatian Volunteer Corp, which is a group of men and women over 50 years of age who volunteer two days a week helping the marginalized in our city. I love their blogs and this week (find blog here) I found one that might be incredibly important for everyone. The blog talks about how those who help others are 42% happier and have a 44% less chance of dying. The Andrew Weil data is quite impressive and is worth a thorough read.
It is interesting that they report the endorphin-mediated response you get from helping others is similar to that a runner gets when exercising. The term “helper’s high” gives an illuminating summary of what this is all about. It is very interesting when I coach and mentor marketing professionals, they really seem to “come alive” when they talk about the work they do helping others. The industry has a rich tradition of helping others through its work with children, disease fundraising and support for those who can’t afford to pay for the medicines they need. These are things we should always think about when the industry is being discussed by outsiders.
It may be worthwhile to think about the information in the blog and determine how that could impact your work and your personal life. Pharmaceutical marketing executives have so much to offer the world. Think about working in small business centers to help those trying to start new businesses. Everyone is trying to figure out how to use social media to promote their small business with a limited or no budget. There is a tremendous need for helping teachers with finance and business lessons. Every business and civic organization could benefit from outside marketing expertise. The opportunities are endless.
I also think that there is a vast array of opportunities to help others even within your own company. Volunteering to mentor or help those new to the department or company is extremely rewarding. Helping sales people who are searching for various career paths in the organization not only helps marketing professionals connect with the field but this could also provide a solid source of information from the front lines. Working on internal diversity teams or on various cultural events are good ways to help others in the company better enjoy their work. Just like volunteering in the outside world, the “inside the company” possibilities are also limitless.
You may say that you are way too busy to think about dedicating your free time to volunteering or helping others. The key message from the blog is that by helping others you are really helping yourself. Remember it is your health, your longevity and your happiness that improves when you help others. If things seem to have gotten stale at work or if you seem over stressed perhaps you should consider adding a little responsibility in order to put everything else in perspective. Perhaps you will feel that “helper’s high” and began to look for even more opportunities to help others once you get hooked on the endorphin rush. Give it a try.