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Why We Do What We Do {written by Lionel}

January 13, 2011


I was in downtown Auckland, New Zealand, in the early 1990’s and I was thinking about what makes a five-star hotel different from the rest. I’ve always been fascinated by them. My wife and I often will go to beautiful hotels around the world, just to go in and grab a drink, and we always end up coming back in our conversations to what makes a hotel, and how they serve, good or disastrous.

I realize that it’s the combined years of education and experience coming together to build and run a facility that serves. Hotels, put simply, ultimately attract guests because of the greater investment they make to serve people.

With individuals, parents, business’, charities, churches, government and nations, what makes any one of them great, attractive and inviting is the extent to which they serve others.

About 15 year ago, during my undergrad years at school, a fellow student asked me to help him with his accounting. With both of us being international students, we had seemingly connected over our time we had lived in Africa and our shared interest in government. One day this student invited me to go over accounting homework together.

As I tried to help him, strangely, he acted completely disinterested. I couldn’t tell why until another well dressed guy came up to us while we were studying. Together they proceeded to try to convince me to sign up for a multi-level marketing business. When I said no, from then on, this guy who I thought was becoming a friend, showed no interest in friendship with me again. His motivation in approaching me with kindness was actually for personal profit which he guised as friendship.

Motivation paints us from the inside out. We are human beings that run deep and who care about motivation. We can tell when kindness, friendship and service is being offered not as a gift, but as a transaction. Here’s what we believe: “The more convincing customer care can be at pretending it values you, the customer, rather than just your wallet, the more successful it will be.”

Imagine a place where people as individuals, and in their organizations, served each other from the heart with genuine care and love for others. As our economy steps down deeper and scams and fraudsters are exposed, why not let it expose our own fraud and how we’ve turned kindness and care at all levels into economic transactions?

Giving Anonymously is an expression of this imagined place. It’s a simple tool that protects people’s motivations surrounding giving and being given to. It exposes people to the incredible joy there is in giving without gaining anything in return. For us at Giving Anonymously, we believe that we will only be as good as the values we personally espouse.

{This post was inspired in part by the teaching of Dr. Craig Dunn (Western Washington University) as well as many enjoyable dates with my wife and conversations we’ve had in hotels all over the world.}

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