This past Tuesday, the speaker at my Rotary club, a retired Chairman of the Board of his very successful family business, didn’t talk much about his business. He talked about his past 10 years’ experience of being a volunteer airplane pilot transporting war-injured veterans to places they needed to go around the world. He was on one of the most joyful speakers I have ever heard. Rotary clubs are famous for writing checks to good causes, but he reminded us of something more important when he said, “My father always told me this about serving others: The easiest thing to do to is write a check. Go rake a yard.”
Every person I’ve met in the first 10 days of 2020 has asked me, or I asked them, “How is your New Year’s going?” A few said great. Most said fine or pretty good. And a couple of people told me that this is the toughest start of any new year they have ever had.
If you happen to be part of that last group who entered this new year with great expectations and were instead confronted with great disappointment and find yourself in a sad funk – I’d like to offer you something to think about.
“There is a wonderful law of nature that the three things we crave most in life—happiness, freedom, and peace of mind—are always attained by giving them to someone else.” Peyton Conway March, the 1st US Army Chief of Staff 1918-1921.
It’s easy for me, and maybe for you, to stay stuck alone in my disappointment and become uncomfortably content to be a quiet Debbie Downer. As March says above, it is easier to act your way into thinking better, than to think your way into acting better. Good feelings follow good actions.
So, get out of your chair and give someone a smile down the hall or a pat on the back. Tell someone how gifted they are, give an unexpected gift or just sit and listen to a friend who may have a problem bigger than yours – rake a yard.
Journal Entry: Even if you having a great new year, do you know some people at work or home who needs an uplift? Whose yard do you need to rake in your leadership and life?
Announcement: the first episode of my podcast “Small-Time Leaders” will air next Tuesday. Here is a preview of the intro to the podcast.