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Most of us have heard this adage many times. Let's take a deeper look at how we can accelerate philanthropic impact and how it applies to our life journey. It starts with our four gifts for giving. We’ve all heard about giving our time, talents, and treasure. We all have a fourth gift that serves as a foundation for the truth of this quote.

1. Trust is our fourth gift for giving.

The often-overlooked concept of trust is the additional gift we all have that we can give so generously to others. What I mean by trust is the trusted relationships we develop during a lifetime —personally, professionally, in the community, and with our family.

If you connect the critical components of trust and extending trusted relationships to help others, it is a generous act that is selfless and caring.

2. Trusted relationships are how we survive, grow, and thrive throughout our life's journey.

If you take a step back and reflect on your life journey, you will see that trusted relationships are the key to your survival, from birth to your independence as a young adult. As infants, we are entrusted with our parent’s care for the basics of life, and parents are generous with their love. No matter our age, the role of trust is evident in this belief that trust is the glue that holds relationships together.

Unfortunately, there are so many times when leadership influences may not only be lacking but may be a total detriment to sound personality and character development. We are dependent on others for guidance, wisdom, and knowledge. Hopefully, the leaders of our lives serve as good role models. As we get older, we rely on our teachers, coaches, and other people of influence who help guide and direct us to make wise choices.

As we progress through college or higher education, we have college professors or mentors, our peers, and other people of influence who help us make wise choices. These trusted relationships help us survive, learn, grow, and hopefully thrive. It may be our bosses or peers. It may be grandparents and the continuing influence of close family members.

I generally describe people progressing through three life phases: the accumulation phase from birth to mid-50s, the opportunity phase from mid-50s to early 70s, and finally, the distribution phase from early 70s until our death. As we age through the accumulation phase and then transition to the opportunity phase, we have hopefully nurtured and fostered trusted relationships within the family, our special causes, and our community. As we continue on our life journey, hopefully, we recognize and share trusted relationships with others for the collective good.

3. This trusting relationship web shows us that no man is an island.

I believe that we understand that no man is an island begins as we raise our own families. We see the dependency of the infant and young child depends on us as parents. As grandparents, we see this again but also depend on our children and others as caregivers. We are never truly independent but interdependent on one another through our trusting relationships.

4. The better the trusted relationships, the trust modeling we witness, and the trust mentoring we receive, the more we can thrive and unleash our potential.

John C Maxwell, a best-selling author of over 34 million books on leadership, emphasizes that having people of influence or leaders in our lives is vital. As John Maxwell says, “Leadership is influence, nothing more, nothing less.” Sound leadership builds trusted relationships at the core of giving generously to advance philanthropic impact. My question is, “What kind of influence do you have with your trusted relationships for the greater good?”

Yes, it is so very true. Throughout our life journey, as we age through the accumulation, opportunity, and distribution phases, our trusted relationships are how we survive and thrive during life’s journey. We realize through our trusted relationships that no man is an island.

Let’s do some good!


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If you would like to accelerate your impact through education, social innovation, and advocacy, let’s talk. Schedule a call with Greg here.

Disclosure: Aspire to Give®, a social enterprise that donates 100% of profits to charity.
The thoughts and opinions expressed in this blog are not representative of the views of ACG Advisory Services, Inc. or the Actuarial Consulting Group, Inc. of Midlothian, Virginia. Each client and prospective client agrees, as a condition of precedent to his/her/its access to Aspire to Give®’s website to release and hold harmless ACG Advisory Services, Inc. and Actuarial Consulting Group, Inc., their officers, directors, owners, employees, and agents from any and all adverse consequences resulting from any of his/her/its actions and/or omissions which are independent of his/her/its receipt of personalized advice from Aspire to Give® or Gregory W. Doepke.