“You get the best out of others when you give the best of yourself” (Harvey Firestone)
At 4:00 yesterday afternoon, I received a telephone solicitation for a local charity. As it was not one of the high-profile charities (I think I have been relegated to a second-tier calling list), I declined. Matter of fact, I think it was the same guy who had already called me twice earlier in the week, disguising his voice. I think this third inquiry was an attempt to raise money for new windshield wipers on his mother’s ’78 Buick.
If Saint Jude is the patron saint of lost causes, I think this caller can safely be dubbed the patron saint of less-than-life-threatening causes.
As I politely declined his request (for the third time), his reply was: “Awww, come on, you have to give something back to the world”.
My answer: I give something to the world every day, and you can too.
Some people hear this and think: “No way…I have to get the kids on the bus, drop off my dry cleaning, go to work, pick up the kids after school, go to soccer practice, make dinner, fix the couch where the dog thought his toy was hiding…”
Here is the beautiful part of giving: you do not have to make any additional entries on your already overcrowded To-do list. Actually, when you add ‘giving’ to the roster, your day may become less stressful and chaotic.
You can bring positive energy and value by enhancing, in the slightest way, things you are already doing.
Examples I have encountered recently:
1) My favorite question to ask convenience store clerks is “So, how is everybody treating you today?”. Many of them are so tired of the “How ya doin’…good” dead-end conversations, it catches them by surprise. Then I make a little joke as they are counting change. Leaves them with a smile 99% of the time.
2) An older gentleman in a grocery store, examining his coupons for cereal, notices the one he wants is on the top shelf. As he raises his cane to ‘hook’ it, a young man asks if he can be of assistance. With a chuckle, the older man points to the one he wants and says: “Thank you, young man, very nice of you. Sometimes I drop the wrong one.” They both share a laugh and get on with their day.
3) I was the opening act at a comedy club recently. After the show, as I greeted and thanked people for attending, two women aproached and pointed to another woman across the room. “That is our friend, and tonight was the first time she’s come out with us since her husband died a year ago.” Putting her finger to my chest, she told me “You made her laugh for the first time in a long time. Thank you so much!”. I was there to make people laugh and have fun. Just doing my ‘job’ was suddenly so much more valuable, with no extra effort.
Simple giving, that is all it is. Being aware of opportunities while we are already doing what we are doing. It took no extra time or energy, really, to make the above actions happen.
How many opportunities do you have to give, every day?