Wait a second — 2014 is only a little over a week away??? Wow. That means that the 29-Day Giving Challenge ends this Friday! I don't know about you, but I've been loving this year's challenge even more than the past years'. The experience seems to become richer and even more powerful the more I do it — or maybe it's a cumulative experience, where I'm feeling the rewards of every giving challenge that I've done before. In any case, I hope that you're enjoying giving just as much as I am. Now, before I wrap up the blog for the year and head out for the holidays, I want to take a moment to recap the challenge giveaway requirements, just so we’re all on the same page.
This was my big epiphany a few days ago when I was running outside in the rain: It's SO easy. I was halfway through my run when a woman who was clearly lost asked me for directions. For a quick moment, I was like: "Ugh! I am in the middle of a great song. I have to stop my music, stop my run, stop my flow…" But, then I did just that. I got out of myself for a moment to help this woman get to where she was going. And you know what? She was so grateful. Plus, it took less than a minute!
It's heeeeeere: the official start of the holiday season. From now until the end of the year it's probably going to be go-go-go for most of you. Places to go; people to see; parties to be partied. Yes, it can be very hectic, but let's not kid ourselves — it's an awful lot of fun as well. Plus, before you know it, it'll all be over and the January chill will be knocking on your door. Maybe we can all try to be in the moment as much as possible through this season so that we can fully appreciate the time spent with family, friends, and loved ones. Oh, and let's not forget about gifts! If you're anything like me, giving presents is just as wonderful as receiving them...maybe even more so. But, there's actually another kind of giving that gets me the MOST excited this time of year — a kind of giving that deals in gestures both large and small, and that gives back in the most amazingly resonant ways. If you've been following this blog for a while, you probably know that I'm talking about our 29-Day Giving Challenge.
Happy New Year, everyone! I hope that you all had a wonderful holiday and were able to take some time to relax, reflect, and rejuvenate. 2012 is now officially behind us, but that doesn't mean that it will stop affecting us. The changing of the year is the perfect time, symbolically, to contemplate your life experiences over the past twelve months and I'm sure that there are things both good and bad that will have an impact on how you move forward in 2013.
Is it possible?? The 29-Day Giving Challenge ends tomorrow?? Yeesh! I don't know about you, but this last month has flown by for me, which is somewhat of a testament to the power of this challenge — it was such a joy to do that it never felt like a chore. Pretty amazing stuff. Before I wrap up the blog for the year and head out for the holidays, I want to take a moment to recap the giveaway requirements, just so we’re all on the same page.
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 commentscoming 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.
I know, I know — it's been a while. And, wow, a lot has happened in the meantime. On a personal level, I'm a new mom and it's been one of the most amazing, beautiful, and — yes — tiring experiences of my life. My husband and I couldn't have asked for a more precious gift than our daughter, Zoe, and our time with her has been an extraordinary adventure, so far. We can't wait for everything that's still to come.
Now that the 29-Day Giving Challenge is over and I’ve had time to let it all sink in and take stock of the experience, here’s a list of the 5 best things (or gifts, if you prefer) that I got out of the challenge.
1. Identifying My Inner Critic
As I look back over 29 days of giving, I can't help but notice one of my Inner Critics, good old Perfectionist Patty, telling me that I didn't do it "perfectly." Full disclosure, there were 2 days that came and went without a gift. I am sure I could finagle a way to look back at those days and find something I did that could count, but honestly, I was too wrapped up in my life at the time.
Wow, I can’t believe it’s here already! The 29-Day Giving Challenge ends tomorrow, which also means that the holidays are literally upon us. I don’t know about you, but the time just flew right by for me (in the best possible way – I had SO much fun!), and now I’m getting ready to take it all in and reflect on the experience. Before I go on, though, I want to take a moment to recap the giveaway requirements, just so we’re all on the same page.
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!
How cool it is to wake up thinking, "What can I do for someone else today?" There’s no better start to a day — it sets a precedent and I've found that I’ve been giving more in general ways throughout the entire day. It’s also infectious; talking to my family members about it over the holiday weekend, everyone was brainstorming ideas for ways to help other people. My 6-year-old nephew said, "Open the door for someone," and my 10-year-old niece said, "Give food to someone who doesn't have money." It's amazing how easy it is to make a difference in people's lives when it's intentional. The night after thanksgiving I hadn't done my gift yet, and as my mom was getting ready to order in dinner for all of us, I jumped up and offered to take everyone’s order and then run and get dinner for the whole group. I’m usually content to just throw my order out to whoever is taking charge (because trying to order dinner for 10 people can be an exercise in chaos), but it felt great to take the burden off my mom — treating it like a "gift" made it enjoyable to do.
How many times, over the course of your life, have you heard the period between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day referred to as “The Season of Giving?” We’ve all participated in this metaphorical season in some capacity or another – usually by giving gifts to friends and loved ones. And as anyone knows, the best part about this ritual is seeing someone light up when a gift that you’ve given them really strikes a chord. It’s actually better than getting gifts (okay…most of the time!). Well, recently, I came across something that inspired me to take the idea of giving to another level and I decided that this would be the perfect time to do so, essentially making “The Season of Giving” earn its name. I want to introduce you to Capes Coaching’s 29-Day Giving Challenge.