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High Performance: The true value of giving back

August 9, 2022 -  By

One of the great things about our industry is the generosity of its people. I’m reminded of this each year when I see the support of Arlington National Cemetery and throughout the year in so many different ways. This generosity is manifested in a variety of unseen situations as well, where we quietly help others without seeking publicity.

Renewal and Remembrance Day at Arlington National Cemetery. Photo by Kelly Limpert

Volunteers gather before beginning the Renewal and Remembrance day of service at Arlington National Cemetery. (Photo: LM Staff)

Giving back is an interesting concept because, on one hand, we all have needs, goals and desires. In this sense, we are reaching for something we don’t yet have. Yet, on the other hand, we all have something to give. In this sense, we have something to offer someone else, regardless of where we are in our careers or what our bank accounts look like.

When we think of giving back, we can think in terms of three categories: time, talent and treasure. In many ways, time is our most precious resource. For some, it’s easy to write a check, but giving up a few hours or a few days for the sake of someone else is much more of a sacrifice.

Regarding talent, giving back means giving of our best talents. For example, a medical doctor serving for two weeks in an impoverished community in her capacity as a medical doctor is more valuable than her volunteering to help build a house.

Treasure refers to our financial or physical resources. In many situations, this is the most efficient way to give back because money can be used to purchase whatever is needed the most. The downside is that giving back in this way can be impersonal.

The outpouring of support for Arlington National Cemetery is a great example of giving that includes all three categories — time, talent and treasure. Another reason why the Arlington National Cemetery service work stands out is because it requires thoughtful planning in advance. Spur-of-the-moment giving is great, but giving that is not simply based on an emotional response takes giving to a different level.

As you consider your plans to give back, I would encourage you to think about giving of your time, talent and treasure. After all, we all have something to give.

Now go forth.

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