Generosity Everywhere!

Well, here we are a week into the Giving Challenge. How does it feel, so far? Does giving come easy to you? Is it difficult to think of something new each day? Have you noticed a shift in your daily perspective? I know — so many questions! But, that's one of the great things about the challenge: it forces you to consider things that you might not normally think about. It is, after all, called a "challenge," which in itself means that it should be an endeavor that pushes you and requires some bit of effort to complete. One thing I've noticed from the comments coming in (great job, btw — keep 'em coming!!) is that it seems like people are realizing just how much the little things matter. When we talk about gifts and giving, the first thing that pops into most people's head is a physical gift. A present. Now, don't get me wrong, I love a good present! And I really love finding the perfect present for someone else. But given the season, you're going to have all kinds of practice buying and getting those types of gifts. The beautiful thing about this challenge is that it's given people the opportunity to understand just how wide the definitions of "giving" and "gifts" truly are. The small gestures count. And often times, they count the most.

Giving someone a hand with something when they're not expecting it. A shoulder to cry on for someone who needs the support. A kind word to show someone how much you appreciate them. Holding doors. Giving up a seat on the subway. Donating those clothes you never wear. Calling the grandparent who simply loves to hear your voice. The list goes on and on and on — there really is no limit to these small but meaningful gestures. And it's in them that you'll find the spirit of this challenge.

NYPD Officer Lawrence DePrimo: inspiring generosity. Photo by John Marshall Mantel for The New York Times.
NYPD Officer Lawrence DePrimo: inspiring generosity. Photo by John Marshall Mantel for The New York Times.

By now, many of you have probably already heard the recent story of the NYPD officer who committed a random act of kindness for a homeless man on a cold night in Times Square. If you haven't, you can read about it here (I encourage you do to so). The act itself was so heartwarming and lovely, but the unintended benefit has been the way it's touched hundreds of thousands of people and spurred numerous acts of generosity in its wake. That's what this is all about — giving to inspire giving. I've said it before and I'll say it again: it's a circle that feeds itself and grows exponentially with each act of generosity. It's infectious in the best possible way.

Before I head off to give my gift of the day, I want to switch gears briefly. I probably don't have to remind you that there's a giveaway at the end of this challenge, where you could win some fantastic career tools, including a private coaching package with me. Well, I thought it'd be great to hear from last year's winner, Katherine, in her own words, on what the experience was like for her. Here's what she had to say:

"A friend of mine knew I hoped to be a writer but didn't know how to get started. He'd worked with Capes Coaching before and recommended them as a way to focus, to get support and encouragement from an expert. When I heard about the Giving Challenge, I was thrilled. The challenge itself was fun and meaningful — a way to help others during the frenetic holiday season and focus my energy in a positive way. The coaching sessions were also very useful; Betsy helped me craft a mission statement, goals, and methodology to my writing. As a coach, Betsy was knowledgeable and positive, telling me often that we could customize the sessions to fit my needs. I would absolutely recommended the Challenge to anyone — novice or expert — who needs a creative boost!"

It was a joy to work with Katherine, and I'm looking forward to working with this year's winner. So, keep giving, make sure you comment on your gifts, and — who knows? — come January, you and I may be crafting your 2013 career plan!