Okay, show of hands: who’s lost a little steam in their Giving Challenge? (sheepish look on my face) I’ll admit that I’ve had my moments. If you have too, don’t sweat it. It’s only natural to get really excited for something in the beginning and feel your energy dip as things go on. I talked about this not so long ago in relation to artists and projects, and I got a lot of responses from people who knew the feeling all too well. In a way, the 29-Day Giving Challenge is a project — there’s a structure to it, a beginning and end, and things to do throughout. So, on one hand, my advice is similar to what I would tell any artist who’s in the middle of a project and feeling an energy slump: Dig Deep!
On the other hand, I want to hoist this challenge above all of that – to help it transcend “To Do List” associations and give it the freedom to reach its potential. To do so, it’s important to reconnect to why you wanted to do the challenge in the first place, and that (of course) comes back to generosity. The giving challenge was designed to put yourself in a place where others come first – to shift yourself from a “me” perspective to something more universal in its focus. Mainly, it should not feel like work. Now, that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t put thought into what it is that you’re giving, but it shouldn’t cause consternation or anxiety. And it certainly shouldn’t feel like a chore – that would take away from the very spirit of such an endeavor. I mean, come on, this should be fun!
So, if you need a little kick in the pants, think about what it was that got you so excited about the challenge in the first place. I don’t know about you, but I could feel a palpable energy ignite when we announced our giving challenge – people responded to it with so much heart and passion that I could tell we were on to something big.
Another thing to remember is that your gifts do NOT need to be big. The small things count, and often times those small and seemingly-insignificant gifts are the ones that matter most. Giving someone your undivided attention can have a bigger impact than giving that same person something shiny and new. It doesn’t cost you a thing to offer your seat on the train to someone with a lot of packages, and it takes all of twenty seconds to text someone close to you that you’re proud of them.
If you need some extra inspiration, stop by the original Giving Challenge blog post and read the comments – I can’t tell you how heartwarming it is just to read what other people have been giving (not to mention that I’ve borrowed a few gifts from you guys!). One other thing to consider: while the focus of the challenge is on being generous towards others, I think that it’s okay to give YOURSELF a gift if it feels right to you. This is particularly true for people who are especially hard on themselves and for those who need a little extra self-care to get through the day. I’m not saying that you should be giving yourself gifts throughout the challenge, but in special circumstances, it might be exactly what’s needed. You’ve come this far – stick with me until the end, and I promise that you will not regret it.
**Just a reminder: if you haven’t already done so, you need to stop by the blog and comment on one of your gifts at some point throughout the challenge in order to remain eligible for the giveaway at the end. Some of you have been superstars with your comments – let’s keep it up! Also, we love to hear from all of you, no matter what the subject. Don't be shy in the comments, especially those of you who might normally be wallflowers. I promise I don't bite :)