Ethics is a quality of the heart. It’s something that grows within you but isn’t seen easily from the outside. For that to happen, you need to express your ethics in deeds that are visible to others. To paraphrase Henry Ford, a person who makes nothing but money is a poor kind of person.
Most people communicate their ethics at work. That’s because people spend the majority of their time working. But there’s another way to convey your values: through service to others. There are two reasons to get involved in volunteering. First, it rounds you out as a human being; second, it’s good for your business.
The British management thinker Charles Handy suggests most people view “work” too narrowly. Instead, he thinks people should view it as a portfolio of activities: wage-based work, fee work, home work (household chores), study work (educational and professional development) and gift work (charitable donations and volunteering).
Handy goes on to say that for most people, their work portfolio contains only their job. This isn’t just dangerous economically – since jobs have a way of disappearing – it also is hazardous to people’s mental health. People expect their job to produce all of their happiness – an unrealistic expectation. A healthier approach says to allocate your work into several diversified buckets (sound familiar?). This lowers your economic risk and increases the odds you achieve personal contentment.