What began as an idea inspired by two friends has already created an amazing shift in my life.
Don Foley is currently living his dream, pursuing a career as an actor. Brad Lichtman is on the verge of celebrating two years as owner of his own successful catering company. They do not know each other, but they have one BIG thing in common: charity is part of their personal mission in life.
In mid-December, I decided that I am going to donate 10% of EVERY dollar I make as a professional speaker to a local charity (my books and other ventures are currently earmarked for other projects).
Since then, I have made several trips to a local food pantry and animal rescue league…with a BIG smile on my face and arms weighed down with boxes and bags of items from their ‘wish lists’.
Last week was, for me, a particularly good week. Tuesday evening I took the 10% cash envelope, a pen and paper to my favorite grocery store. In my quest for the best deals and bargains to maximize my contribution, I spent close to an hour making my way through the store, jumping back and forth, aisle to aisle, with an inconsistency sure to confuse even the most technologically advanced GPS unit.
Carefully tracking every dollar, I endeavored to make each purchase count.
I struck gold several times with a big smile as I found a ‘buy-three-get-one-free’ special. And the smile returned every time the cans clanked around in the carriage.
To my surprise, I also experienced several emotional moments, with tears in my eyes, as I assessed my own life. I shave daily with a triple-bladed $8.00 razor, and discard the $3.00 blades at the first hint of dullness. The ridiculous wastefulness of this struck me as I picked up a 12-pack of disposable razors for $2.00…razors some people were unable to purchase this week because they wisely decided to put food in their childrens’ mouths instead.
Seeing the fresh fruit and vegetables on display, something many people cannot afford, reminded me that my own ‘fresh’ purchases are wasting away in the crisper drawer of my own refrigerator.
I quickly realized that, when you need to pinch pennies and carefully count the dollars, there are many better choices I could be making in life…if only my eyes were open more often.
Am I a wealthy person, in a financial sense? Hardly. (Visa, Mastercard and my maxed-out business-line-of-credit will happily confirm this).
Do I get to enjoy having my most basic needs met, daily? Yes. I live in a warm home, surrounded by loving family, making a living doing things I love (professional speaker, author and entertainer).
It’s funny…since the day I promised myself that 10% of my speaking income would be given, within a week of earning it, to charity…interest in my speaking services has doubled. I have received more calls, more e-mails, more inquiries than ever before.
And that makes me smile.
Who would have thought that, of all the money I will earn in this amazing life I have created, the biggest smiles and heartfelt warmth are supplied by just 10% of it.
I am truly richer than I ever thought possible, and it’s only going to get better.
Is there something you are willing to do to provide for others, perhaps just by giving 10% away? It doesn’t have to be cash. It can be as simple as time, or small efforts, here and there, to benefit ‘someone else’.
Think about it. There are riches to be gained, by sharing your own wealth, and your own self, beginning today.