First a quote: “As we work to create light for others, we naturally light our own way.” – Mary Anne Radmacher
Millions of people are in search of missing joy this year. We can help, and just maybe, find a bit of our own missing joy in the process.
In light of this past year, pandemic and all, I have chosen to go into the archives and retell a story from two years ago this month, that I think is particularly applicable in our current times:
I have been fortunate to have had many wonderful mentors in my life. One of those mentors is a good friend, Bob Banks. In addition to being colleagues at Albertsons, we also co-taught graduate-level leadership courses together at George Fox University for several years.
Bob occasionally told stories about being a cadet in the United States Air Force Academy. I recall one that involved being homesick not long after he left home for the first time, in pursuit of his career. On a call home, his mother could sense Bob was struggling and was not his normal, cheerful self.
His mom’s advice, “I want you to go through your dorm and find someone who is more homesick, and lonelier, than you. Your assignment is to cheer that person up and help them work through their struggles with being away from home for the first time; then report back.”
As you might guess, by focusing on someone other than himself, and bringing emotional comfort to someone else, Bob also found comfort and happiness himself. He was no longer as homesick as he was before focusing on helping someone else. That was a lesson Bob never forgot.
For millions of people, the holiday season is anything but happy. And this year, in light of the pandemic, it is even worse than normal. Families are not able to travel or be together, thousands are unable to visit parents and grandparents in assisted living facilities, millions are without work and at risk of losing their homes, businesses, or both.
Loneliness seems even more lonely. Stressfulness seems even more stressful. Heartaches hurt even more. Financial pressures often feel greater. This can all be very overwhelming for any of us.
This is a great time for both personal and professional leadership. Everyone can help, everyone can do something, no matter how seemingly insignificant. We never know when a loving smile, encouraging word, or kind gesture might make someone’s day, or perhaps, save someone’s life.
This is a great time to reach out to others in need. Find someone in your life who could use a little boost this week; maybe you could choose to be a “Secret Santa”, send a note, or write an old-fashioned letter, schedule a surprise Zoom, have a meal delivered to a schoolteacher, give your postal carrier, or other service person, a note of appreciation, give someone a call or maybe even a virtual hug.
Just like Bob was less homesick after focusing on someone else, you too might find the holidays are a little cheerier, a little merrier this year, by choosing to do the same. When we give joy and happiness, we get joy and happiness in return
In recent months, I have been challenging all of us to dream bigger and to do better, to be our “best selves” during these difficult times, no matter our circumstances.
In less than a week, I will celebrate my 65th birthday. My birthday wish is to raise enough money to feed a minimum of 6,500 meals to the hungry, homeless, and/or veterans by the end of the year. What an incredibly wonderful birthday celebration that would be!!
I have set a BHAG? (Big, Hairy, Audacious, Goal)
Simple! 200 donations of $65 each! (Or any equivalent combination of course)
If you’re not in a position to offer a financial donation at this time, could you help in other ways:
- Ask ten friends for $6.50?
- Forward this request to 65 people on your social media account?
- Email 65 friends.
- Begin a similar effort in your neighborhood or community.
Regardless of what occasion you celebrate this time of year; Christmas, Hanukkah, Rohatsu, Solstice or maybe just winter, I wish you a holiday season filled with love, warmth, wonder, happiness and joy.
For the Yager family, it is Merry Christmas! Enjoy!
How will you love, live, or lead, differently, or better, this week?
“Expanding Your Capacity for Success”
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- “No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.” – Aesop
- “When we give cheerfully, and accept gracefully, everyone is blessed.” – Maya Angelou
- “Life’s most persistent and most urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others.” – Martin Luther King Jr.
- “Learn to light a candle in the darkest moments of someone’s life. Be the light that helps others see; it is what gives life its deepest significance.” – Roy T Bennett