Our work focuses on the concept of
enlightened self-interest (ESI), the belief that consistently helping others in a meaningful way
will in the long run also help you.

ESI strengthens your relationships, demonstrates your expertise, builds your credibility, and earns you the trust of others. All of these will bring you lasting benefits, even though you earn them by helping others.

ESI is not tit-for-tat. You either buy into the concept, or you don’t; keeping score won’t work. Success with ESI means living as a person who helps others, even though sometimes the people you help don’t fully reciprocate. It is the belief that in the long run, you will be better off by practicing ESI.

We help both organizations and individuals find the intersection of helping others and exceeding your own goals.

In scholarly terms, people who practice enlightened self-interest could be described as moderately prosocial. That is, they are not selfish, but neither are they 100% selfless. The following excerpt is from Generosity Pays: Selfish People Have Fewer Children and Earn Less Money (Eriksson, Kimmo,Vartanova, Irina,Strimling, Pontus,Simpson, Brent). The emphasis in bold is ours:

It may be that the relationship between prosociality and income could be nonlinear (Grant & Schwartz, 2011). For instance, compared with more selfish people, moderately prosocial types may experience high incomes via the processes just described, while their very prosocial counterparts experience relatively lower incomes. This would happen if, for instance, the most prosocial types were more apt to focus their efforts on volunteering and helping others in lieu of career advancement, or if they tended to seek out and/or remain in lower paying jobs that emphasized helping others. As suggestive evidence, consider two findings from a study of happiness. Oishi, Diener, and Lucas (2007) found that the relationship between happiness and income was characterized by an inverted U-shape, with the highest income levels found among those reporting moderate levels of happiness. On the other hand, happiness had a strong linear relationship with volunteering, a prosocial behavior. Taken together these two findings suggest that we might expect to find the highest incomes among those who show moderate levels of prosociality.

To put it simply, people who practice ESI genuinely want to help others but are also capable of keeping their own goals in mind. They succeed by being trustworthy, generous, helpful, proactive and credible. Think of an accountant or lawyer who consistently volunteers in his or her community because doing so both gives them satisfaction and also helps to build and maintain their client base.

What We Do

We research, teach and practice enlightened self-interest. We also help many of our clients use ESI as a communications strategy, especially on social media.

How we do it: the Elevate Framework

Here is a quick explanation of a remarkably powerful framework. We call it “Elevate” because this philosophy elevates everyone and every organization it touches.

First, you must cultivate awareness. Are you self-aware? Are you aware of others and their needs? Do you practice situational awareness?

Second, you serve others by putting your unique strengths to work to benefit others, across every aspect of your work. You will never be finished with this step. It is a lifelong endeavor.

Third, you persistently reach higher. This means bringing out talent in others, and finding the highest and best use for both their talents as well as your own.

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