Philosophy of Abundance is something I've been practicing personally and professionally for the last decade – with some amazing results. Nearly 10 years ago, when I was founding a grassroots organization in Boston called Socializing for Justice (SoJust), I began to incorporate what I called the “Philosophy of Abundance” into my personal and professional practice. It has become a mantra that I’ve shared through Socializing for Justice, my professional speaking business, and my professional and personal networks.
The Philosophy of Abundance illustrates that you benefit when you share knowledge with your community. Spending time and money is often based on the model of scarcity: the more given away, the less you have. Conversely, giving away knowledge does not deplete you of knowledge. In fact, it opens up endless possibilities. [click to tweet]
What does this look like in practice?
Socializing for Justice (SoJust), is a 9-year old, grassroots, cross-cultural, cross-issue progressive network in Boston that has grown to nearly 3,000 members and hosted over 200 events – without any outside funding or paid staff. The Philosophy of Abundance has been a key to breaking down silos – opening up communication and collaboration among Boston progressives. SoJust actualizes this by sharing many resources – including: a list of over 50 places to post events – a mix of progressive and mainstream websites, listserves and media, a list of venues to hold meetings, and a list of vendors that provide inexpensive marketing materials. Social justice activists and organizers are also encouraged to network at SoJust events and use the resources at SoJust.org to support their own cause – without fear of being treated as interlopers. SoJust prioritizes sharing resources so as to add value to the community as a whole.
On a personal level it has informed how I approached building my professional network. For many years I’ve been open to meeting with anyone over coffee – so they can pick my brain and we can get to know each other. Early on my mother was concerned I was giving away too much information and said I should be charging for these consultations.
I explained to her my Philosophy of Abundance by comparing it to giving rides to the airport. If someone asks you for a ride to the airport, you'll do it if you have a relationship and the resources (time and a car), it's also clear you are doing them a favor. If you consistently offer rides to the airport you'll have no problem getting a ride when you need one – and quite possibly it will be from someone who hadn't even received a favor from you. You'll become known as someone who shares resources and supports their community. People want to help people who do that.
So for 10 years I figuratively (and sometimes literally) gave “rides to the airport” in Boston and wherever I traveled. This often was done by sharing knowledge – meeting people for coffee, joining committees, volunteering, and pro bono consulting. When you give money or time those resources are depleted, but when you share knowledge you lose nothing and increase the possibilities for you and your community.
At the end of 2014, when I was deciding after 10 event seasons to leave my role as Senior Manager of Events and Donor Engagement at GLAD and pursue my dream of being a solopreneur professional speaker – I didn’t feel like I was going out on my own. All of the people who had directly or indirectly benefited from my Philosophy of Abundance over the last decade were ready to support me if Ineeded “a ride to the airport.”
These days, as I prepare to be a father (baby due in December) and need to focus more time on my business (launching a podcast and new website this fall) my time has become more limited. I’ve committed to blogging weekly about relationship building to be sure I’m still investing in my professional network and sharing my knowledge. This is my 8th week posting in a row (a major feat considering how many psychological barriers I had to traverse to accomplish this). I hope you've been enjoying what I've shared. If so, please “like” and add a comment.
In the comments
How have you practiced the Philosophy of Abundance?
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Robbie Samuels has been recognized as a networking expert by Inc. and Lifehacker, and profiled in “Stand Out: How to Find Your Breakthrough Idea and Build a Following Around It” by Dorie Clark. Check out “On the Schmooze” his new podcast.