Tuesday, December 4, 2012

The 25 Days of Giving Challenge: Day 4

December 4, 2012

Dear Givers,

I hope you are enjoying the Challenge so far! Quite a few of you have messaged me privately, and several people have emailed to request "Letters from Santa" for a child (and an in one case an adult) in their lives. ‎So my own giving continues, and it really does feel good.

One unanticipated outcome of this Challenge so far has been the comment I have heard from a few people that "Sometimes I can't think of what to do/give and finding something seems to be on my mind all day." All I can say to that is: Double win! As I shared a few posts ago, giving - in my opinion - is like any other cultivated habit. When we put it in the conscious part of our minds, and when we planfully give with intention and with motivation to help someone else, we begin to change our thinking, which ultimately, over time, creates a change in behavior. This Challenge is less about crossing a "give" off your daily to-do list and more about really thinking through the people you encounter, the needs they have, and what seems a reasonable, sustainable level of giving. Like diets, a crash giving spree probably won't last. But a change in thinking and acting, little by little, will hopefully put this sort of thing on your daily mental radar and keep it there. No need to give every day if you honestly can't think of something. And please don't stress yourself out trying to meet some daily goal I may have set as a generic benchmark. Instead, think about this Challenge within the context of your life, and simply ask yourself what giving "often" would look like for you. Habits are built just as they are broken, and habitual giving is what will make it natural.

This is also another reason to journal - daily, if possible. Even if you don't feel you "gave" anything to anyone on a given day. We often underestimate how naturally we do give. And yes, we also occasionally go through days without giving others' needs a second thought. Journaling can help pull all this together, so use this space and time to reflect on how you feel when planning to give, while giving, and after giving. This will be your takeaway from the Challenge, as you are building what I have referred to several times now as a "giving spectrum" - which is really nothing more than a catalogue of your own ideas and "gives" as well as the ideas that others have shared here. And remember: there is no crime in borrowing someone else's "give"! That's actually the idea. In fact, what a great way for someone to give to you, without realizing it. And how might it look/feel to let that person know, if you can, that he/she gave you an idea, inspiration, motivation?

As we continue on with Day 4, I leave you with a quote that I love, and that I think is a perfect fit for all we are all accomplishing here together:

"We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is not an act but a habit."   

Until tomorrow,

~ Hasky

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