The Benefits of a Generous Spirit

Sir Winston Churchill said “We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.”

No matter how much or how little you have, you have something that you can share with others. That something has the potential to change someone’s life for the better. IF you’re willing to share.

There are many logical reasons to give. It has been proven that giving can lower your blood pressure. It reduces the stress in your life. You will experience less anxiety and giving helps keep depression at bay. It also increases self-esteem.

But here is the best reason to make a difference in the life of someone else…because you can.

Some of you reading this are saying to yourself I’d give if only I had something to give. But as I said before, you absolutely have something to give. You only need to broaden your perspective about what you have that is valuable.

During this particular time in history there are many people experiencing profound loneliness. They would love for someone to talk with. If you have a willing ear and a mouth that works then that someone could be you.

I’ll bet there is an organization in your community that is matching up willing “givers” with people who could use a bit of conversation to brighten their day. If you Google it you can find that organization. 5 or 10 minutes a day to do a little good, maybe a lot of good, maybe even save a life.

That’s just one of a million ways you can give back this very day!

Still some of you are saying I’d do that if only I had the time. As anyone who has ever heard me do a Webinar on “Using Your Time Effectively” time is just an excuse for people too busy…or lazy, to make a real excuse.

You have plenty of time to do everything that is a priority in your life. And this is a bit off topic but if you have more than a small handful of priorities in your life then you probably don’t have any real priorities.

You might be thinking I can’t “spend” time giving back because I have kids, work, homeschooling, plus tons of stuff. So DON’T SPEND time on anyone, instead “INVEST TIME” with everyone in your life.

That change of mindset will improve every relationship in your life.

The benefits of giving far outweigh whatever perceived “costs” there may be. You don’t need money to give, you don’t need some special gift or skill to give. You don’t need more time in the day to give.

You just need a willing heart and a desire to help.

Giving to others is one of the nicest things you can do….for yourself. I think you deserve it, don’t you agree?

Are You Keeping Score?

Every year in the United States millions of Christmas Cards are sent through the mail. My mom used to send a ton of them. Each year she would keep track of who she sent cards to and who she received cards from. 


I asked her once why she kept track of who we were receiving cards from and she said it was so she would know who to send cards to the next year. I guess I assumed we just sent the cards to our family and friends but it turns out that was only half true. The whole truth was that we sent cards to family and friends who sent cards to us. 


My dear mom was keeping score. 


Dale Carnegie said, “If you do something for someone else never remember. If someone else does something for you, never forget.” 


His point was pretty simple, don’t keep score!


If you’re giving a gift with the expectation of receiving one in return then you’re not actually “giving” a gift, you’re making a trade. If you do a favor for someone for the sole purpose of eventually receiving a favor in return then that is not a favor, that’s a barter. 


I could write a lot more on this topic but I don’t need to because someone else already did. 


To me, the bible on pure giving was written nearly ten years ago by Bob Burg and John David Mann when they wrote The Go-Giver. It is a truly amazing book, really a life-changing book if you’ll give it a chance. 


It’s a quick read, it’s a great read, it’s an impactful read, it’s a must read. Few books provide a message with the staying power of The Go-Giver and I’ve never met anyone who read it that didn’t agree. 


Now, just so you know, this is about as far away from a paid endorsement as you can get, in fact, the authors have no idea I’m writing this. I just believe this book can help you. That’s all that’s in it for me.


If you give only to get then you’ll likely never feel that you get what you deserve. It is by giving without expecting a return that we receive far more than we could ever expect. 

Don’t keep score, just give. Give freely, give purely, and you will discover that you’ve been receiving all along.

It’s Not About You

The week of April 10-16, 2016 is by Presidential Proclamation, National Volunteer Week in the United States. The proclamation says that this is the week “we celebrate the selfless individuals around our country who channel their civic virtues through volunteerism, and we encourage more people to make service an integral part of their lives.” 

In 2002 Pastor Rick Warren published a book entitled, “A Purpose Driven Life.” It was on best seller lists for years and by 2007 more than 30 million copies had been sold. There were lots of sentences in the book, many passages of Biblical Scripture were quoted and it is a great read to this very day.

Many people, including me, might say that no sentence in the book was as impactful as the very first one:

It’s not about you.

It is a book written by a Christian Pastor but it wasn’t written specifically for Christians. The advice and guidance provided in the book could be life changing for anyone who took it to heart. The book speaks to living your life on purpose for a purpose. I believe we all have at least one common purpose in life and that purpose is to add value to the world by giving something back. 

We give back because life is not all about us.

President John F. Kennedy said “For of those to whom much is given, much is required.” The inspiration for President Kennedy’s famous observation, can be found in Luke 12:48: “For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required.”

You may not think of it this way but your ability to simply read this post demonstrates that you have been given much, at least more than some others. Despite life’s ups and downs most of us really do have a pretty wonderful life. During national volunteer week no one is asking that you give back all that you have been given, you’re only asked to share a little bit of your wonderful life.

Mahatma Gandhi said that we should “live simply so that others may simply live.” That is the essence of giving and of volunteering. Your smallest act of giving, your smallest act of kindness, and your smallest act of volunteering could potentially make a huge difference for someone else, or, it may make it possible for them to simply live.

Just because you may not see the difference doesn’t mean you didn’t make one and just because you may not personally receive thanks for your efforts doesn’t mean that someone isn’t thankful. 

The only real reason you need for making a difference is that you can. You don’t have to change the entire world to make a difference in it. You can make a difference in the world just by making a difference in the life of one other person.

Warren Buffett is quoted as saying, “Someone’s sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago.” What he meant by that is sometimes it takes a long time for a difference to be seen. You should know that today and always, the tasks you undertake for others will make a difference in their lives someday, whether you get to see it or not.

So this week we should all be planting metaphorical trees, we should water them with additional acts of volunteerism throughout the year and never forget this all important fact: it’s not about you.