What I Learned About Giving Back from “Start Something That Matters”

Written by the founder of TOMS, Start Something that Matters walks you through combining business with purpose while giving back.

*This post contains affiliate links. Please see my full disclaimer for details.

STORIES THAT IMPACTED THE LIVES OF OTHERS

I think we all have something that pulls on us a little.

It might be that you’re a mom and have a passion for children who live in troubled homes. It could be that you grew up poor and want to reach out to help the homeless. You might have gone through a season of suffering and want to find a way to encourage others not to give up hope.

Whatever that feeling is, that prompting, could be a gift God wants you to share with others.

Think about it. All those big feelings and ideas and emotions that you carry with you every day…what if they could be turned into something bigger than yourself? What is it that you’re already doing that could be morphed into some kind of project/business/movement/hobby that directly impacts others in a positive way?

Here are a few examples of people who were handed hardship and made something great happen along the way:

Some of these people are famous, others are not. The point is, each person took what they loved doing and used it in a way to give back to others.

“START SOMETHING THAT MATTERS” BY BLAKE MYCOSKIE

A few weeks ago I read a book by the TOMS founder, Blake Mycoskie called “Start Something That Matters”.

In his book, Blake talked about how he had multiple small businesses he started, but never really felt successful until he learned what he considered to be true success. He realized the pursuit of money was always leaving him wanting, and that the true value was when he felt that what he was doing was actually giving back and helping the world in some way.

Blake offers practical advice for anyone who is wanting to find a way to give back to others, whether you are:

  • Starting up your own business or non-profit organization
  • Wanting to get more out of your day job
  • Inspired by charitable organizations and want to help
  • Looking for advice on what giving back even looks like for you
  • Trying to shift your perspective on what true success really is

HOW TO GO FROM YOUR STORY TO YOUR MISSION

I’ve talked about the importance of sharing your story in the past, and it was refreshing to see someone who is really successful in their business telling us the same thing.

Blake shared his story of going from one small business adventure to the next, but it wasn’t until he saw a real need in a community connected to a business idea he had that he felt he was making the difference in the life of others. Because he had passion in his story and saw purpose because of the needs of the people around him, the world was drawn to his product and he became a success almost overnight!

His business model was simple: Buy one pair of TOMS shoes and we’ll give one pair to a child who needs shoes of their own. (One for One)

So what’s your story?

How does it connect to your passion?

How can you use these things to serve others?

1. TELL YOUR STORY

  • What things in your life have made you a stronger person?
  • Make a list of lessons you have learned over your lifetime.
  • What problem did you overcome that others are dealing with?

2. FIND YOUR PASSION

  • If you did not have to worry about money, what would you do with your time?
  • What kind of work would you want to do?
  • What cause would you serve?

3. DEFINE YOUR SERVICE

  • How do you describe your business/hobby/day job?
  • What do you want to be known for as a person?
  • What social causes are you seeking to serve?

4. BRAINSTORM WAYS TO GIVE BACK

  • What can you give in addition to money?
  • What talents or special skills can you share?
  • How can you incorporate giving into multiple areas of your life?

WHAT THIS LOOKS LIKE FOR ME IN MY BUSINESS

Of course, after reading through this book, I was challenged to see how this applies to me in my business. Blake asks even small companies to get creative with what they have to offer.

So here’s a peek into a few of my notes I came up with:

MY STORY

I started this business because I have Late-Stage Lyme Disease and a few years ago I was really sick–I mean wheelchair, 80 pills a day, nanny-for-my-kids sick. It went on so long that I defaulted to just being a sad, bedridden woman.

One day I literally asked myself: “What if it’s like this forever? If I never get better, do I really want to live my life like this?

I hadn’t opened my Bible in a year and had no direction for my life. I’d always written in journals, so I decided to share my struggles on social media and in doing so, people said they were encouraged by my faith. I couldn’t believe it! 

I started a blog writing about what I was going through and how my mindset was literally preventing me from healing. Over time I noticed that I wasn’t making progress until I decided I would.

I made the decision to live my life with goals and dreams and a reason to wake up everyday. 

After addressing my mental health, I had room to grow spiritually again. I started sharing how I was making connections in my Bible and people were excited about the ways I simplified my Bible note-taking.

Three years later, I’m doing what I love: writing, drawing and creating products for other people who want to grow personally and spiritually.

I feel there’s a deep connection between mental and spiritual health and we can’t address one without addressing the other. Through my own growth, I have been able to encourage and connect with others going through similar struggles.

MY PASSION

I want to empower and encourage women to live life with intention through personal and spiritual growth.

MY SERVICE

I’m a Christian blogger and I create Bible study materials and personal growth resources for women.

MY WAY TO GIVE BACK

Create free resources that women can print and share with others to live with more intention through goal setting, self-care, Bible study, Christian living, and impacting their families in a positive way.

MORE FREE RESOURCES FOR YOU!

I may not be making shoes for kids, but I am creating my own type of products. While my business is constantly evolving and growing, I am challenged by “Start Something that Matters” and want to give back in a bigger way than I am right now. What that looks like in the future, I’m not sure, but I know it’s something I want to pursue.

The first thing I want to do, is increase the amount of self-care and spiritual growth resources I put in my free printable library. I have a few right now, but I know that it would encouraging to so many to offer free printables that empower women to take care of themselves mentally and spiritually.

Over the next few months, I will be very intentional in adding to these sections. If you haven’t already, sign up up you’ll be the first to know when they come out!

ORDER “START SOMETHING THAT MATTERS”

Remember, fear is inevitable in anything new you pursue. That’s ok! When you feel insecure about your plan or how it’s going, Blake reminds us to go back to our story: Why are you doing this? What is the motivation? If you are Iiving your story, you don’t have to be afraid. You can just be yourself.

None of the people mentioned in this book said they were so confident when they began that they knew they were starting a large business or a major nonprofit. They just felt compelled to start something. So they did…If whatever you do helps just one person, you’ve done something wonderful…The most important step of all is the first step. Start something!” – Blake Mycoskie, CEO of TOMS

Ready to order a copy of “Start Something That Matters” for yourself? Click here:

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You’ve got this!

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