No one would remember the Good Samaritan if he’d only had good intentions. He had money as well. (Margaret Thatcher)
Looking at your finances through the paradigm of stewardship profoundly affect how you manage your personal economy, operate your businesses, capitalize on marketplace opportunities, and respond to perceived risks. Stewardship, acting on the behalf of others, can markedly change your financial world. Here are 3 ways stewardship can revolutionize your finances!
Being A Responsible Steward Pays
Inherent in financial stewardship is that you pursue something beyond a self-serving agenda. You are not the owner. You’re compensated to manage of the affairs of another. You aim to see his or her wishes fulfilled.
I saw a surprising example of stewardship via my interaction with Dr. Bill Evans, the CEO of St Jude Children’s Research Hospital. When he spoke at UNC School of Pharmacy, I expected a research-centric presentation. After all, he’s a seasoned scientist and author of over 300 research and textbook publications. However, he delivered so much more than a boilerplate “research talk” or an organizational infrastructure talk. He discussed their mission to find cures and save lives. He connected their key research objectives to this mission. There was an entirely different texture to his talk compared with the other presentations. He wasn’t just there as a scientist or CEO; he was their ambassador, and he was a good steward.
In the midst of many charities closing their doors, St Jude took in a staggering $1,051,623,909 (including $183,752,685 net investment income) for fiscal year ending June 2010. Its assets exceed $2.4 billion. People open their wallets because St Jude prompts them to first open their hearts. When you decide that there are bigger things than your own personal gain, you become a magnet to those on a similar path. They will rally to support your vision: an authentic quest to do great things.
The personal application is that the same sense of responsibility that prompts the St Jude team to excel can change the finances of your household, your extended family, and perhaps your community. For example, a speaker at a recent conference was so motivated by the need for education that in addition to giving generously to schools in his community, he also decided every Christmas to personally invest $1000 into the education of each of the children of his relatives (all 30 of them). His contributions enabled one of his sisters to receive her bachelor’s degree in her fifties! He also inspired his own daughter to forsake a $150,000 starting salary upon graduation to develop a social entrepreneurial business employing under-served people and revitalizing their communities. She gets to build the wealth of these communities and her own balance sheet. What a win-win strategy!
If you’re willing to be your community’s steward, there’s good to be done and profits to be made.
Stewardship Can Prompt You Take Proper Inventory of Available Resources
Additionally, an important aspect of stewardship is that when you feel responsible for acting on the behalf of another, you will likely take better inventory of your available resources. We see it frequently with expectant parents who radically change their lifestyles (from their diets to spending habits) in anticipation of a baby.
This is why belonging to a team, association, church, mastermind group, and other organization that will hold you accountable can be tremendously beneficial. I remember some challenges that seemed insurmountable in my own life. If it wasn’t for the odd email, phone call, smile, or other form of encouragement from a colleague, I might have quit. However, I had a sense that not only would I be failing (them and myself), but we would both KNOW this is something that I could have accomplished but didn’t. Thus, my relationship prompted me to draw on dormant potential and to utilize available resources, even through unpleasantness.
When deciding between 1) failing and disappointing the people you are working for or 2) pushing through unpleasantness and having a reasonable possibility of success, the choice may not be easy, but it is often simple.
Stewardship Liberates You To Take High Reward Opportunities
I have found that among its other benefits, giving liberates the soul of the giver (Maya Angelou )
While the steward has implied accountability to fulfill the wishes of those he is representing, he is not necessarily responsible if those wishes do not prove fruitful. If extenuating circumstances prohibit you from achieving the desired results, that’s rarely catastrophic.
At another business conference, a Morgan Stanley managing director discussed this very issue as it applied to the modern workplace. She mentioned that fear is often False Evidence Appearing Real. She stated that it will prevent you from taking advantage of the very opportunities that will give you the competitive advantage in your organization. She indicated that even if you failed while attempting something great, you would have not only 1) gained wisdom from the experience but 2) would often be given another opportunity to prove yourself at a high level because of your willingness to try. Since failure is often temporal, why should we fear? You can experience a do over!
Men don’t drown by being underwater, they drown by staying underwater.
When you are willing to be held responsible for something greater than yourself, to strive for excellence, and to use the available resources to the best of your abilities, you may find that the critics are not so quick to hang you. After all, inactivity or avoiding risks doesn’t necessarily spare you from workplace adversity no more than it would solve your household economics. No guts…no glory!
Harness the power of stewardship to improve your finances. Pursuing abundance is not selfish. To the contrary, some of the most selfish people only want enough for themselves or their families. The challenge is to expand your vision to contain something greater than you, for therein lies your power to achieve the impossible.
This was an article by Roshawn Watson. Roshawn writes at Watson Inc on eliminating debt, investing money, and building wealth. Get his free eBook Your Foundation to Wealth by signing up for his email updates (no spam I promise). Get his RSS feed and connect with him on Twitter @roshawnwatson too.
Last Edited: 21st May 2012