Charity begins in your Values - lessons from the streets of Makati


Today I was in the Philippines, Makati to be exact, preparing for a week of work with our outsource provider and had a bit of a BFO (Blinding Flash of the Obvious). I realised that I can and should help more people. But why do I need a shock to get me to realise this obvious fact? In one word, values.


Let me paint a picture for you. Imagine you are sitting on a busy entertainment street in downtown Asia, having a frosty beer and hearty burger. It's pissing down rain and surprisingly cold for tropical Asia, but it's okay as you are undercover. Right across the street from you, there are children trying to sell flowers to make a few Peso to have some food. They are soaking wet, shivering, and hungry with their hands out for you to help. What do you do?

If you were anything like most tourists (and me) you have been warned off giving to these kids. "It's a scam!" I have heard. "You are only encouraging them to beg." People have said. It's true they have tried to pick pocket me before, but who can blame them when I have so much and they so little. 

Most often I just walk past, but today I just couldn't. Maybe it's because I am away from my kids. Perhaps it's because they were so young. Maybe it's the cold. Whatever the reason I thought about the best way to help them and decided to buy them milk and some food. At least try to do something positive.

I think the reason most people don't help those less fortunate is that the problem seems so large. I could walk around Manila and see hundreds if not thousands of poor children living on the street. Do I buy food for all of them? Of course you can't but why not extend a helping hand to just a few.

Interestingly after they raced off with my bag of goodies, I noticed another guy my age went and bought more food for them. I can only presume, seeing me help a little, let him know it was okay to do the same. He could have been thinking the same as me? That got me thinking about the catchiness of charity. Is it like yawning when people see doing good deeds or does it depend on your own personal values?

I can only answer from my perspective. My heart strings were pulled because they were kids. Anything to do with helping disadvantaged kids and I'm in. Not to say I don't respect other causes, but because my kids and so high on my value list of what's important it taints my values for charity as well. I suspect this is the same for others as I see many people create movements when someone close to them has been afflicted by a specific illness or disease. It's all about how personal it is to you - your values. I know right BFO!

So my challenge to all reading this is make a connection to what's important to you and give a little. It just could help one person who is having a bad day to do a little bit better. The smiles on the kids faces was worth more than all the money in my pocket.


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Andrew Ford

Marketing expert Andrew Ford, the founder of Social Star, has discovered the secret of ‘Powerful Branding’. With a fire for unleashing people’s inner brand and developing business models to generate profit from an individual’s passions, Andrew leverages ground-breaking digital and social media marketing techniques to create digital strategies for clients to attract maximum opportunities. Having established a strong name for himself in the field, Andrew blends traditional business techniques with now-necessary tools for entrepreneurs to achieve scale, quality, and influence in their niche. Andrew’s comprehensive business background and qualifications consist of a Bachelor of Business (Marketing) (RMIT 2003), a Graduate Certificate in Management (MBA Executive Program, University of Sydney 2005), and a Masters of Entrepreneurship and Innovation (Swinburne University 2011). Continually on the cutting edge of his own education, Andrew has tested his marketing theories in forums such as the BCG Business Strategy Competition, which he won in 2005 against all Victorian MBA schools, and the Venture Cup Business Plan Competition (Swinburne University 2003), which he won in the Masters category. With experience working at Hewlett-Packard, Sensis (Telstra) and IBM, Andrew also has mentored dozens of junior staffs to help them achieve their professional goals. Meeting and influencing high-profile public figures helped Andrew to realise just how many professionals require more understanding and control of their public brands or appearance, and need help with the skills to use the many amazing free tools at their disposal to generate success. At Social Star, Andrew consults with clients to uncover their personal brand – both where it is today and where it can be tomorrow – and refine and define how that should be displayed in social media in order to attract their perfect target audience. Andrew mentors his clients to rapidly grow their business’ audiences, resulting in larger potential client bases and higher revenue. Applying formulas that integrate over twenty years of Andrew’s business experience and fifteen years of formal business education, Social Star specialises in building clarity and velocity for clients’ brands using the ‘Understand, Build and Leverage’ methodology. ‘Having a Personal Business enables people to have an authentic, congruent connection with their valued clients and partners, using their brand as the bridge,’ says Andrew. ‘I’m highly driven to work with the new breed of entrepreneurs and small business owners – people who have a passion for making the world a better place. Traditional business models are stepping aside as people follow their innermost dreams and my role is to see them operate within their values while creating wealth. Some people think you have to sacrifice what you love to be successful in your business, yet it is actually the opposite. Follow your passion and success will come.’ Lecturing at Swinburne University from 2009 to 2011 on brand dynamics and digital marketing, presenting at numerous conferences, and consulting to hundreds of clients, Andrew has seen his philosophy work that if you follow your unique path, based on your skills, experience, values and goals, you will automatically attract the opportunities you desire and achieve the success you deserve. Living his mantra, Andrew has created a successful business and attracts high-profile clients including musicians, athletes, authors, models, entrepreneurs, professionals and small business owners, helping them find their ‘why’ in their business and fulfilment in their lives. Business for Andrew is more than work, it’s personal. Running a personal business means that he is able to fulfil all of his values rather than separating his life from work. It supports his two boys while providing social opportunities, educational development, fitness opportunities, spiritual fulfilment and many valuable friendships. Social Star has now become the vehicle for Andrew to crystallise his mission in the world, to help people love what they do, supporting his ‘why’, that if more people loved what they did, the world would be a better place.