“From what we get in life, we make a living. From what we give, we make a life.”
~Arthur Ashe

So much time is spent on getting what we want out of life – focusing on our goals, defining and achieving our dreams, moving up, moving ahead, and moving past obstacles (and people) that stand in our way. Getting is important; it is definitely part of what makes life worth living.

A part we often overlook is giving. Giving of ourselves – our time, our friendship, our guidance, our support. It is in the giving, that we often find life even more worth living. The sense of relief and gratitude from colleagues when we put down our own task at hand and focus on the challenges that are tearing them up. The renewed motivation and inspiration for work that emanates from our direct reports when we freely give our guidance and expertise to help them further their careers and fulfill their personal aspirations. Or the look on a child’s face or the feel of their hug when we comfort them or spend uninterrupted time with them doing exactly what they want to do. The connection with a loved one when we put their needs before our own.

Recently I came upon a woman in a parking garage who was frantic. The garage would only accept cash and she had none. She could not drive out of the garage without paying the attendant forty dollars. I was waiting behind her and getting a bit annoyed and impatient. After all, I had things to do! As I listened, I put my normal suspicion and skepticism aside and offered to pay for her car. The look of surprise and relief on her face confirmed once again that small acts of kindness have lasting impact. Later I received a check and a moving note from the woman with heartfelt appreciation.

There is a great value in selfishness and self-care, and we write of both those often. There is also a huge value in giving what we have to others, because it is in the giving that we truly connect, and that we receive more for ourselves in the end.

Where am I more concentrated on getting? How can I give more?

Choose three new ways to give of yourself this week – and continue to make your life. Please leave a comment to let us know how you’ve given of yourself.

If you enjoyed this post, you can read more like it in our book, The Power of Thoughtful Leadership: 101 Minutes To Being the Leader You Want To Be, available on Amazon.

For help in truly giving to others, contact Robyn at rmcleod@chatsworthconsulting.com.

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