My favourite way to contribute each year is to sponsor a family at Christmas. I get incredibly emotional while I’m shopping, as most of the things that I am buying are things that we take for granted. Towels, pyjamas, dishes and blankets. I probably go a bit overboard but the thought of a child not experiencing the magic of Christmas makes me want to cry. The thought of a mother not able to afford sheets for a bed or warm winter coats for her and her kids makes me so sad. I think I usually spend about $700 on a family. $700 is a lot of money and there are a lot of things that I could spend that on, but I can’t think of anything more important than allowing this family to have some comforts that we consider necessities.
Back in January I was talking to a colleague who helps people understand their WHY. After our conversation he told me that my WHY is “to build relationships based on trust”. I thought a lot about this over the following months. I agree that I build relationships based on trust. I am successful at what I do because I establish relationships and trust, allowing people to be comfortable being open and honest with me, which in turn allows me to help them resolve their issues. I had a hard time accepting that this was my WHY though, I just didn’t get it. Last week I was in Albuquerque visiting this colleague and we had another conversation about it. I explained that it just didn’t make sense to me. As he asked further questions it was determined that my WHY is “to contribute” and my HOW is “to build relationships based on trust” – YES! This makes sense! I lose passion for a project when I don’t believe that I am contributing. I know how blessed I am and always have my eyes open for opportunities to help others.
Tonight I watched a clip from the Ellen DeGeneres show. It was about an elementary school teacher who goes above and beyond, contributing to the happiness and well being of her students. (Coincidentally, or not, she is also from Albuquerque!) She spends the first hour (and her own money) every morning ensuring that her students have eaten, brushed their teeth, combed their hair and are appropriately dressed. There was an incident where two students at her school needed to be placed in the foster system. She stepped forward and took the children, for what was to be the weekend, but she has been taking care of them now for six months! This woman is amazing. Watch the clip:
Most of us will never contribute like this woman, however that shouldn’t stop us from making our own contribution. I know that she inspires me to want to do more!
Never think that what you have to offer is insignificant. There will always be someone out there that needs what you have to give.
A few months ago I contacted Cornerstone Family Violence and Prevention Centre to see if I could volunteer. I had no expectations about what type of work I would be doing, I just wanted to help. Doing dishes, driving to get groceries… it really didn’t matter to me. What I was offered was the opportunity to facilitate Leadership Training to their management team. I went there to help them and they ended up helping me. My vision is “To inspire and motivate people to achieve greatness”. I still struggle with how I will achieve this vision but then things like this happen and I realize I just need to keep doing what I am doing.
I do these things – donate, volunteer and help people because I am grateful for all that I have and want to help make someone’s life a little bit better. What in turn happens is I get so much more out of the experience than perhaps even the person I am helping.
If you are contributing, good for you and continuing doing so. If you’re not, start! If you’re not sure how, let me know, I have lots of ideas!
We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give ~ Winston Churchill