I have been incredibly fortunate over the course of my time on this earth to receive invaluable gifts that have made a tremendous difference in every aspect of my life. I am not talking about a new car, a new watch or a new shirt for Christmas. I am talking about the thoughtful gifts from family, friends and even relative strangers that have changed my thinking, inspired me, taught me valuable lessons and gotten me back on track when I was lost.
Let me share a few that really stand out in my memory:
- Gifts of wisdom…from my parents when I was younger that were often subtle and exactly what I needed at the time, even though I was often resistant and unwilling to listen. This wisdom has echoed through the generations as I find myself sharing my parents’ lessons with my own children.
- The gift of inspiration…from my oldest son Alex who has high-functioning autism. His joyful willingness to engage with a world each day that is often hostile and alien to people on the autism spectrum inspires me and everyone who knows him.
- The gift of understanding the need to allow others to help me…from my good friend Jim who cared enough about me over a decade ago to help me understand that although I enjoyed helping others, I often struggled to let others help me. His helpful advice was a game-changer as I began to work on receiving the help I so enjoy giving to others.
- The gift of my business…from so many friends who encouraged me to start my own company in 2013. Their willingness to push me out of my comfort zone of low risk tolerance to do work I love as a solo entrepreneur was the spark that gave me the courage to launch Serviam Partners.
- The gift of self-reflection…that began to grow as I recognized with my wife’s help the need to slow down the hectic place of my life over a decade ago and be more fully present for my loved ones, friends and causes I care about. Being able to pause and reflect on lessons learned and special moments has been an invaluable gift.
I could name dozens of invaluable gifts that have had a meaningful impact on my life. If we slow down enough to appreciate and be present in the encounters we have with others each day, we will begin to see the endless stream of gifts we may be receiving and the difference these gifts are making in our lives. Once we develop this self-awareness about the value and power of what we may be receiving from others, we can more intentionally share our own gifts through candid advice for a co-worker, sharing a helpful book, lending a listening ear for a troubled friend, coaching a younger colleague, sharing a little hard-fought wisdom with our children and many other examples.
Encouragement to Action
- Reflect on the memorable and life-changing gifts you have received from others like the ones I describe in this post. Reach out and thank the givers.
- Consider how you can pass along your own gifts in a more intentional way through the daily interactions you will have with others…and never expect anything in return.
Mastering the concept of gifts I have shared here will make your life and the lives of everyone around you richer and more rewarding.