As a society, we have an all or nothing attitude towards having an impact. If we aren’t doing stellar things to make a difference, then why bother? Like most women, I don’t have lots of spare time to volunteer or a million dollars to give to my favorite library. So then, where do we even start?
We start with a simple gesture.
You see, I’ve never considered myself a giver. I’ve always had to work on giving intentionally. Learning and growth? That’s my jam. Generosity and thoughtfulness? Not as much. And it has always bothered me. I wish I was more naturally that way. So, for a long time, I wondered how I could be better.
Have An Impact
I finally found my answer from a tip in a book. It suggested asking yourself every morning (in the shower) one gift, thank you, or appreciation you can give to someone that day. Very very simple advice, and yet implementing it has been a game changer in my life.
The few moments I spend everyday thinking about a gift, thank you, or appreciation have shown me a very easy way to train my mind. After being consistent, I find that it’s so much easier for me to be generous outside of the one thing. I’m more likely to give a stranger a compliment or donate without giving it so much thought.
It’s like a muscle I’ve worked everyday, and I feel more comfortable doing it. Am I perfect all the time? Heck no. I have a long ways to go. But I can honestly say that it feels great to be a little better at it. I’m more present and supportive in my relationships, so they have grown as a result. I get to see a lot more smiles and feel awesome about them.
And I’m reminded that small gestures do indeed have an impact.
What If I Run Out of Ideas?
It’s actually harder than it would seem to know what to do everyday. Some days it’s easy. There are clothes the kids have grown out of that I can give to a friend, or someone did something nice for me and I can send a thank you. Other days, I have no clue. So, I made a list for when I’m at a loss for what to do. Here are a few of my favorites to fall back on:
- Send a text or say thank you for something specific that I appreciate
- Check up on a friend or neighbor who is stressed or going through a hard time
- Leave a love note on my kids’ pillows
- Send a quick photo, uplifting article, or recipe through text
- Take a child out for a treat or picnic in a new location
- Give someone a specific compliment (and if I see something beautiful in someone, tell them!)
- Do the special handshake with my son, or extra cuddles with my daughter
- Bring someone a coffee or simple treat
- Mentally send some love or pray for someone specific
How to Actually Remember
Now, I started by trying to think about it in the shower as was suggested. But here’s the thing, my shower time is kind of my relax and actually be alone time. Plus, I have a three month old. These days I shower less than I care to admit to the public, and it’s at the end of the day.
So, to actually remember consistently, I added it to my self care checklist. Then, I started physically writing it in my gratitude journal in the mornings because that was a habit I already had. Between the two, it finally stuck. It takes a little experimenting to find what works.
These are quick, easy, and painless. Two minutes of time could make someone’s entire day. A gift, thank you, or appreciation to someone isn’t big and grandiose, but I promise it does make a difference. So, start small and have an impact on someone today. In the meantime we’ll keep working on that million bucks to give away.
Have a wonderful weekend everyone! And drop some other ideas you love for showing simple generosity and kindness!
- Habits of High Performers by Brendon Burchard