While I do know that roses are involved, I’ve never watched The Bachelor. Or The Bachelorette.
So I knew nothing about Zac Clark, the winner of season 16 of The Bachelorette. Didn’t know he’s also an entrepreneur. Didn’t know he co-founded Release Recovery, a NYC transitional residential program for men recovering from addiction. Or that he co-founded Release Recovery Foundation, a nonprofit foundation dedicated to providing scholarships to individuals and families who suffer from mental illness and substance abuse in underserved communities.
Or that he’s a glutton for self-punishment, because starting today at 3 p.m. Clark will embark on the 4x4xx48 Goggins Challenge: He’ll run 4 miles, every 4 hours, for 48 hours.
Yep: 48 total miles. Day, night, day, night, day.
As with most worthwhile ventures, the goal is multi-layered. On a personal level, Clark loves challenges. And he loves competing. But not in this case.
“Even when I run marathons,” Clark says, “I stop and say hello to friends. I make it about the moment. When you live the way I lived for so many years, searching for that next hit… detaching from the results and just making it about the experience has been a gift.”
Taking on the challenge achieves a higher goal as well. In 2017, Clark co-founded Release Recovery, a full-service organization with approximately 40 employees. “We want to help as many people as possible,” Clark says, “so we created the non-profit foundation for people who are down and out and can’t afford to get the help they need.”
Clark understands fundraising; he’s sat on the board of Caron Treatment Centers. Yet while having a wealthy donor cut a huge check would be great, Clark and his group of runners take a different approach.
“We have ten people running,” Clark says. “Each of us have friends. Each of us have networks. We said, ‘Let’s work to get $48 donations.’ Get a thousand of those, and that’s $48,000.”
To Clark, it’s about strength in numbers — and the engagement, momentum, and sense of community those numbers create.
Because giving doesn’t just benefit the recipient. Giving also benefits the giver — no matter how small the gift.
If you enjoy a little vicarious suffering, check out Clark’s Instagram feed for the next couple days. (Or if you live in NYC and prefer your suffering to be direct, the group leaves every four hours from the Equinox Hotel at Hudson Yards.)
Better yet, if like many entrepreneurs you see success as not just a reward but a responsibility to improve the lives of your employees and your community, don’t be afraid to think small.
Donate what you can’t use. Or instead of giving, teach. Choose a cause your employees — not just you — support and fundraise as a team. Tackle a challenge as a team.
Or use your platform as a business leader to draw attention to a cause. While unintended — Clark’s sister submitted his Bachelorette “application” — his subsequent public profile has created a platform he never imagined possible.
“That propelled our efforts forward at jet speed,” Clark says. “Add the daily social media messages, the emails, the calls from families who are pain and have no idea where to turn and what to do… I didn’t just meet my wonderful fiancee. I got an amazing platform I can use to help people.”
You can do the same. Offer testimonials. Offer to speak at an event, and share why you feel the cause is important. Offer to serve as a contact or source for media seeking quotes or background information.
If you aren’t sure how to help, just call your — or your employees’ — favorite organization and say, “How can I help you spread the word about the awesome things you do?”
The person you call will definitely have ideas. They will appreciate the fact that, for once, someone came to them with an offer to help.
And you, and your employees, will benefit from knowing you were able to help people who really needed help.
Which might be the best win-win of all.