The power of selfless giving - the story of my personal brand

Last week I had the privilege of competing in the final stage of the Top 100 Future Business Leaders Competition, emerging as a Top 100 Future Leader. As part of the finals process, I was asked to share a three minute presentation on my personal brand, selfless giving, which I've shared below.

Thanks to all of those around me who have helped shape this story, and to the other finalists and Protiviti, who sponsored the award.

Last weekend I offered to help a fellow student obtain an internship with my firm. Why? He asked. 

And I said: It’s simple – your success is my success. Today I give to you, tomorrow you give to someone else. 

This, is what I stand for.

My personal brand is about more than just me. It sprang from the incredible individuals who helped me start a business, who helped me grow professionally, and who continue to help me achieve my potential as an future business leader. 

It is the accumulation of thousands of experiences, hundreds of chance meetings and the dozens of people who have selflessly offered their time, energy and advice to help me succeed. 

These people, and their unselfish dedication, form the foundation of my personal brand - giving. 

The age-old truism is that to give is to receive, and that stands today – but with one minor addition. To give – without expectation – is to receive, everything else is manipulation. 

I choose to create value in my network by honouring this age old truism. The selfless giver is my personal brand. The core of this? To work with others to create more value together than is achievable on one’s own. 

But I’m not perfect. 

Despite my best intentions, I sometimes adopt the role of a taker, choosing to trade value with people in my network instead of giving. Relationships that are built in these circumstances fail to create real value. They’re commercial relationships, not human relationships. They lack integrity. 

These human, authentic relationships are the key that will unlock the success I am driven to achieve. Because it’s people – not contracts – which allow great business leaders to grow and thrive.

For it’s the right people who give you guidance without judgement when you go wrong, it’s the right people who give you the space to grow and make your own mistakes. It’s the right people who never ask for anything in return because they never need to. 

These selfless givers are the people who won’t treat you as just another employee, who won’t make you fall in line beca use it’s just too hard, who won’t cut you down because it’s just easier to manage someone who doesn’t push the boundaries. 

It’s because of the people like this I’ve met along the way that I am here today. It’s because of them that I choose to give – my advice, my knowledge, my time, to all of those who ask. It’s these incredible individuals that I model myself on.

Thank you for allowing me to share my story - as Winston Churchill said: “We make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give.”