Gifts from the Heart that
Make a Difference
and my gift for you
My ears always perk up when I hear Tony Robbins - a renowned motivational speaker - who was recently interviewed on the Today Show. I'm always interested in the latest that Tony has to offer because, under his guidance, I received my NLP Neurolinguistic Programing certification - and walked on hot coals. He surely made a difference for me - "If you can walk on hot coals, what can't you do? Get past your limiting beliefs!"
Tony's theme that day was "Who can I serve?" As he talked, he offered himself as an example of living that mantra. Many years ago, he helped two families have a Thanksgiving dinner who otherwise wouldn't have one; those two Thanksgiving dinners have now expanded into his world-wide foundation to feed the hungry. www.tonyrobbins.org (Click on The Secret to Living is Giving). He has certainly made a difference for millions in many ways.
So what? you may ask. Tony is a kazilion billionaire. Easy for him to do. Hard for me.
Yes, Tony is a billionaire now but in fact, he has gone bankrupt more than once. During one of those episodes, the formidable, 6'6'' Tony was homeless and living in his VW bug. He spent his days in the library reading which has led to the wisdom he now shares worldwide.
This got me thinking - regardless of our life circumstances - what are the true gifts from our heart that we can offer others...those gifts that truly make a difference, cost little or no money, and end up meaning more and lasting longer than material gifts?
Here are my top 3 Gifts from My Heart that Make A Difference in hopes that you might want to consider what some heartfelt gifts could be for you. The best part is that they're not seasonal - they're year 'round.
1) GIVE TIME!
** Random offers. Slow down, stop and simply offer your time to talk with someone as you go about your day. Pause for that extra moment, especially when you know someone would love genuine personal contact. So often we are so busy getting our To Do List done, that we forget about the importance of connection - it will make a difference.
**Scheduled visits. Consider visiting a nursing home, hospital or any place where people may not have regular visitors or family for the holidays. Bella, my Maltese Therapy dog, and I do this on a regular basis. You don't need a therapy dog to visit, read to a guest or patient and frankly, just being present shows you care - and can mean so much. It's not always easy but it makes a difference.
**Time Exchanges. Instead of exchanging gifts with friends, how about trading time? I've exchanged coaching sessions and tree decorating assistance to friends who've helped me wrap presents and even look for my lost cat while I was away. Such times I remember - and the warmth they brought. They made a difference.
2) BE PERSONAL!
** Home Made Goodness. We all have something we make for ourselves, our families or even as a hobby on the side. Consider giving or sharing your handmade gift with others. I give my artichoke dip to over 40 businesses and friends. It's a tradition of many years and it's both surprising and heartwarming to hear that people eagerly anticipate this appetizer. Even though it's an easy recipe that I'm happy to share, it's much more fun to receive something ready (and lovingly) made! It makes a difference.
** Outreach. Make a call, write a note (not necessarily a Christmas card), even a postcard to let someone know you're thinking of them. It could be someone with whom you've lost touch or just someone with whom you want to stay connected - and you want them to know it. It will make a difference.
**House Cleaning. Wrap up any old emotional baggage from the year and get ready to begin the New Year with a clean slate. Perhaps you need to clear up a misunderstanding, ask forgiveness or be willing to forgive. It will make a difference.
3) SHARE GOOD SPIRIT!
**Give thanks. Let people know you appreciate something (or the many things) they have done for you. In this month's Real Simple, I read about John Kralik who was feeling depressed in the midst of a divorce and struggling business - instead of dwelling on his misery, he decided to embrace an "attitude of gratitude" and write a thank you note, each day for a year, to his children, business associates and even his "Starbucks barista" In his book, 365 Thank Yous, he shares what he learned from the whole experience. Feeling appreciated makes a difference.
** Offer compliments. If you hear something positive about someone - a friend, a business colleague, a teacher, pass it on to them. We all love to hear we've mattered to someone. And if you have great service at a restaurant or a special shopping experience, for example, tell the manager - it will brighten everyone's day. And make a difference.
** Send good news. Do you often read of some achievement that others have made? Or something you know would be of interest to another? As you read your daily papers and magazines, consider sending positive, relevant articles to those you know; if friends are mentioned or honored, clip the notation and send them extra copies. You're letting them know you noticed - and cared. It makes a difference.
If you'd like additional inspiration, check out CNN's Heroes of the Year - http://www.cnn.com/SPECIALS/cnn.heroes/archive10/index.html - I was moved to tears as these 10 people told their stories. They were so passionate about living meaningful lives and giving back; it reinforced for me what just one person can do to make a difference.
The show ended, in fact, with this message: "Any act of kindness makes a difference." I am in the process of getting stickers with that message. If you'd like one, let me know and I'll send one to you.
Who can you serve? Who might love to receive a gift from your heart? It doesn't have to cost money; it just needs to make a difference.
Please share with me your best gifts of the season that have made a difference - those you give and those you receive - as examples for others. I'll pass them on.
And please accept this gift from my heart to yours, Marshall Goldsmith's MOJO - Finding Meaning and Happiness at Work and at Home (http://www.adifference.com/gratitude-offering.htm). As many of you know, the authors who contributed to my book Walking the Spiritual Path with Practical Feet: Ten Visionaries Who Make a Difference also contributed to my Teleseries by the same name. Same name, but different content. This is Marshall's session which you can download and listen to at your leisure. His thoughts are from his best selling book, MOJO.... he has been named one of the top coaches in the world by Forbes and his wisdom applies both personally and professionally. It is inspirational, timely and was a gift from his heart to contribute to my teleseries as well as my book (which was his original idea).
And finally, may this holiday season be filled with many opportunities for you to make a difference....and may it come back to you ten-fold, knowing that others' spirits have been lifted because of you.
Wishing you love, and all that opens your heart, as you say farewell to this year and welcome in the new year of renewal and meaningful beginnings for you.
You Make "A Difference" Today!
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