blog

Giving Back

Searching for something to give you a feeling of complete fulfillment?

Most people discover that the career or even the relationship won’t do it all–and that the happiest they’ve ever been is when they’ve found some way to ‘give back.’ I’m not talking solely about money–I’m talking about time and talent– giving of themselves.

‘Those who will be happiest among you will be those who have sought and found a way to serve,’ said scientist and humanitarian Albert Schweitzer. During the season of giving, I encourage you to find greater happiness by seeking your own path of service and sharing your true gifts.

For example, my coaching client John, whose natural gifts include leadership and the art of persuasion. A top sales rep in a national corporation, John’s life felt out of balance. Although he was in a happy, longterm relationship, enjoyed frequent travel and scored President’s Club every year, something was missing.

As a mentor for Big Brothers/Big Sisters, John began to get that sense of fulfillment that his efforts were helping expand the horizons of his Little Brother.

He also began to recognize that one-on-one is not where his incredible strengths lie–and so he began to devote himself to recruiting more volunteers for Big Brothers. His personal goal is to leave a legacy. Knowing John, I feel his impact will be substantial wherever he devotes his energies.
Heifers, Anyone?

Anyone can make a difference. Five-year-old Ellie Guettler is a Decatur girl who has raised hundreds of dollars for Heifer International which alleviates world hunger by providing livestock to needy families.

Initially, Ellie had a hankering for a cow. Her mother suggested that cows didn’t live in cities, but why didn’t she buy a Heifer cow to help someone like Beatrice? The ‘star’ of storybook Beatrice’s Goat actually lives in Uganda and has grown up from near starvation through a college education with help from Heifer International.

Then three, Ellie asked relatives and neighbors to donate their loose change on her fourth birthday. She collected $660 and bought the $500 cow and several Heifer International rabbits. Now older and wiser (age 5) with obvious success under her belt, her next goal is $5000 to buy a Heifer Gift Ark–15 pairs of animals!

Sometimes the youngest and most naive make the biggest impact, because they have no notion of failure. We must follow their lead.
How Many Monkeys Would It Take To…

Consider the allegory of The Hundredth Monkey, which has its basis in a scientific study conducted in Japan for over 30 years. Ken Keyes, Jr., provided the information here.

To track the monkeys, the scientists scattered sweet potatoes on the beach. One day a female washed her sweet potato before eating it. We can assume it tasted more gourmet without the grit and with the salty tang.

Demonstrating this treat for her cohorts, they gradually began washing their potatoes before eating. Eventually the Japanese scientists noted that all the monkeys on that island washed their sweet potatoes.

Significantly, at the same time the monkeys on the other islands began washing their sweet potatoes–despite the fact that they had no direct contact with each other!

This validated the morphogenic field theory: the ‘hundredth monkey’ was that anonymous monkey whose behavior tipped the scales for the entire culture. The allegory gives hope to people working on themselves and trying to help the planet, wondering whether individual attempts are worth the effort.

They most certainly are. Whether you’re singing in a choir, teaching someone to read, sorting cans at the Food Bank or raising funds, you are making a difference.

As German philosopher Goethe encouraged: ‘Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it.’