A few weeks ago Mary Hershey issued a challenge based on Cami Walker’s website, 29 Days of Giving. I accepted the challenge and promptly discovered something about myself: I have lots of good intentions, but I don’t always follow through.
Don’t get me wrong. If I SAY I’m going to do something, I will go to painful lengths to make sure that I do it. I can’t stand flakes.
What I’m talking about are all the kind thoughts that pass through my brain on any given day. I should write a thank-you note to so-and-so. Three months later I still haven’t and feel too embarrassed to do it now. (Miss Post would roll over in her grave!) Or, I’m going to donate those outgrown clothes to charity or a child I know who would look cute in them. And the clothes are still in my garage gathering dust. I should offer to help so-and-so. They’re having a rough week. But I don’t do it.
The thought doesn’t always count. Sometimes people need to see in real practical ways that you care about them, that you’re willing to put yourself out there for them. So for me, this challenge was a way of forcing myself to act on all these “nice thoughts.”
And how have I done? I’ve managed to give something away every day, sometimes twice a day and I’m loving it. Sometimes it’s hard. I get caught up in my day and then try to figure out what to give. But every time I give, whether it’s a concrete thing or my time or my assistance, I feel good. And sometimes, I get something right back. It’s a sweet little perk!
I hope I can maintain this level of giving once the challenge is over, because I’ve realized something else by doing this challenge: I have a lot to give. Of course I have days where I feel like life sucks and people should be giving ME stuff! (I could really use a tiny fraction of that bailout money!!) But I live in America. I’ve got plenty to give, and I’m not just talking about stuff. I’ve probably been the most satisfied when I give things that you can’t put a dollar amount on: helping a stranger with my design talent and positive word-of-mouth; writing a thank-you note even though it’s late; giving my kids an afternoon to do whatever they want to do with me even though I’ve got deadlines.
So a big thank you to Mary and Cami. I wouldn’t have done this without them.
And now I challenge you. Don’t just think about it. Do it. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised.