The Cheapest and Most Valuable Gift You'll Ever Give
When a friend is in trouble, don't annoy him by asking if there is anything you can do. Think up something appropriate and do it anyway. ~Edgar Watson Howe
Standing about five foot even, with a small voice and a big heart, Mama Alice Mokeona stood in front of the group and showed us what it took to make a difference in our world. As an immigrant to Canada from South Africa, she showed us that it doesn’t take a border, or a nationality to make a person, it takes heart, and belief in our fellow man. Alice is, without doubt, one of the most real people that I have ever met.
A few years ago, Base Gagetown here in New Brunswick, became a temporary home to hundreds of refugees from Kosovo from the former Yugoslavia. While they were there, many people from all over New Brunswick poured out help to these people in the way of food, clothing, shelter and moral support. When Alice learned that they were here, she knew that she had to do something. Actually, she told us that she felt a responsibility to do something. As a former refugee, she knew that the most important thing that these people needed was to keep busy so that they wouldn’t be able to worry about what had happened or what was going to happen in their lives.
Knowing that she couldn’t sit and just watch, Alice decided to teach these people a craft. So, she took all of her craft supplies and took a taxi to the camp. Not even being able to speak their language, Alice started showing the women how to do some of her crafts. Before long, she was out of supplies, and temporarily out of ideas, but knew that her “ministry” had to continue.
She went to a local department store and asked to see the manager. As luck would have it, the Manager was not in, so they steered her towards the assistant manager. Alice knew that she wouldn’t get anywhere with this fellow, so she insisted on getting the manager’s phone number where he could be reached, and then she called him. After a short telephone conversation, he decided to come in and chat with her.
“I need supplies for these people” she insisted “and you have to help me.” Knowing that he had met his match, and also that he did want to help, he told her to take whatever she wanted. Alice got about three hundred dollars worth of supplies for the refugees that day, all by boldly asking and expecting him to do something. No matter what the roadblock, she either went under, over or around it, she couldn’t be stopped.
When she finished her story, I was totally dumbfounded. What do you say to someone that demonstrates all the qualities that you want to have within yourself? I was in awe of the immensity of her spirit, and moved by her passion for others. With nothing but love in her heart, this woman crossed the boundary of the ordinary, and entered into the valley of the exceptional. Alice was the living completion of Abraham Lincoln’s quote which said: “With malice towards none, and with charity for all, with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right."
Is there something going on in your life that requires you to step out of your comfort zone and into a whole new world of uncertainty? Do you feel like you want to make a difference, but something is holding you back? You know you should, but you don’t. If so, please think about this: When your level of passion is greater than your level of procrastination, and when your degree of concern for others is greater than your complacency towards them, then you will have discovered the true nature of being human.
If we spend our whole lives just taking, we never learn how to give, and it’s in the giving that we get the most joy out of life. Think about it. When was the last time that you got a gift for someone that was going to be a complete surprise for them? You couldn’t wait to give them the gift, you lost sleep just imagining how they would react and picturing how much they would love the gift, and the best thing was, you didn’t want or expect anything in return. Isn’t that the most wonderful feeling? If so, why do we get it so rarely?
If you really want to, you can get that feeling every day of your life, just by giving to others. I’m not talking about buying things, I’m talking about the simple things like just being there for a friend who needs a kind word, or offering a compliment to someone after they have done something noteworthy or shoveling the snow off of your neighbour’s front step without being asked. If we enter into the spirit of giving, and we do it because it’s the right thing to do, then we never have thoughts like, “why don’t people give to me?”, or “they never gave to me, why should I give to them?” These are just wasted thoughts that can never amount to any good.
This week, cross over the border of complacency and start to look for opportunities that will make a difference with the people in your life. Even the smallest gesture of kindness can make the biggest difference in relationships.
A Bit about me...
My vision is quite simple: to make an impact on the lives of the people who have been entrusted to me: You (for reading this article), my family and my clients.
I coach people. Direct, practical, innovative, meaningful.
I coach for excellence.
I love what I do... and so do my clients.
Over the years I've noticed that business coaching that was supposed to make us stronger actually took away our confidence and made us doubt ourselves. Confidence and people skills aren't developed just by measuring and planning everything, they grow through doing and learning from experience and by taking risks. People want to make a difference. Build teams. Be better understood. Live more confidently.
I founded IBC Impact Business Communication Inc. to create a world where business people communicate and act with confidence to create better worlds for themselves. Worlds where they feel powerful and free to express themselves. Worlds where something as simple as conversation creates energy, understanding and impact. Worlds so exquisite, I couldn't imagine doing anything else.
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