Giving when you don't have any
A few weeks ago I had the privilege of attending Dreamforce 2014 in San Francisco and I was lucky enough to watch one of the keynote speakers of the convention, Tony Robbins. Up to this time I had only heard of him but never really heard any of his motivational speeches. I’ve never seen a room full of highly educated, influential industry leaders get up on their feet, jump like they were at a party, scream like they were watching the Super Bowl, and waive their hands like they were ready for him to crowd surf. Not to mention pointing at each others face and screaming “I own you!”
There was a lot to learn, but what was amazing was to see how much his love of giving is at the core of everything he does. You can literally see the excitement in his eyes from 50 rows back every time he talks about helping others out and what great goals he has in the future for his giving. Tony Robbins doesn’t give anyone an excuse to not give, and basically called out the crowd, “Don’t kid yourselves, if you won’t give 1 cent out of a dollar, you wont give a million out of 100 million .” In short, giving is a state of the heart, and if you don’t start somewhere, you will never have the right heart when you are actually in a position to make a bigger impact.
It’s interesting-I have found that many times in my life when everything seems to be falling apart and my life seems to lack meaning is when I’m the most self centered and focused on my own needs. When I get outside of myself and help another out, all of a sudden my life doesn’t seem so hard or bad.
Here are a few reasons I have found to make giving a lifelong habit:
1. Giving makes me feel happy – If someone asks me what will make me happy I start dreaming about sailboats, living on the beach and traveling the world. Would this make me happy? If I was by myself the answer would be a resounding no, but if it meant taking my friends and family out on the boat, sharing vacations with my wife and kids and having the time to do some good in the lives of others I definitely believe it would. When I’m using my wealth to encourage others is when I’m at my happiest. I may not be rich, but what I do have bring me joy when I share it with others.
2. Giving is good for my health – When I’m focused on others and helping, I spend more time focused and less time worrying. Since I’m also happy I keep my weight down, my blood pressure down and my spirits up. Overall this keeps me healthy and ready to conquer the world.
3. Giving makes me friends – Years ago I watched a movie “Pay it Forward” and was amazed at the impact one little boy can have on others. In my life I have found that when I give “whether it is time, money, or labor”, I tend to make and keep my longest lasting friends. When I’m going into any relationship thinking about what I can get out of it is when I’m the least successful. This goes for business as well as personal life.
4. Giving makes me grateful – Whether you’re on the giving or receiving end of a gift, that gift can illicit feelings of gratitude. When I have given to families without food or home it makes me grateful for all that has been given to me, on the other end of the spectrum the ones I gave to are grateful for what they’ve been given and this benefits both parties by providing happiness, health and friendships.
5. Giving is Contagious – When we give, we don’t only help the immediate recipient of our gift. We also spur a ripple effect of generosity through our community, friends and family.
After looking at all the great benefits of giving, it helps me to see why God was so adamant about it. It’s one of the hardest things to do, but it’s a habit we desperately need if we are to stay grounded and humble in spite of whatever future blessings may come our way. As with a man as successful as Tony Robbins, you can tell what truly makes him happy is not all his accomplishments, money and fame, it’s the power he has to make a difference in other peoples lives. Personally, I don’t have anywhere near the kind of influence or power he does to help others and change lives but one thing I remember is that the scriptures say, “Each should give in accordance with what they have been given”. Simply put, we should make as much as an impact on others as we have the ability to.
By: Todd Marinshaw. Todd owns and operates a sportswear business based in Orlando, FL; writes for Band Of Bosses and recently founded iPrevail, a non-profit organization focused on relief and rehabilitation for victims of disasters such as Typhoon Haiyan