The Gifts We Stretch To Give

"The best way to find yourself, is to lose yourself in the service of others."

- Mahatma Gandhi

What would your workplace (or even your family) be like if you just took a couple of minutes out of your day to lift another person?

For many people, times are stressful. Resources (of ALL types) are stretched. Depending on your circumstances, it may possibly be the most inconvenient time EVER for you to serve someone else.

...but it might just be the most important time, too, and maybe even the most impactful.

I want to share a short, personal, story with you and then some Color Code based lessons we can learn from it.

Several months ago, my son had his birthday party at a rock-climbing gym. Before he and his 12 closest friends were turned loose on all of the climbing walls, they received instruction from a coach (we'll call her "Sarah") who had recently moved to Hawaii from Texas.

My wife and I spent some time getting to know her story once the party started. We asked her a lot of the "usual" questions -- why she had moved to Hawaii, what she thinks about it, and what she misses the most.

Sometime during the conversation, she mentioned the high cost of groceries in Hawaii and how she had to cut back on some of the things she loved to eat.

"Bell peppers!" she said, "I miss being able to buy fresh bell peppers like I used to".

It was a passing comment - not a big deal - and soon enough, the conversation took another direction.

After the party ended, we thanked her for her help and set out to run some errands. Our first stop was Costco. While we were there, my wife said to me, "let's pick up some bell peppers for Sarah to thank her for her help today," which we did.

After we finished shopping, we drove back to the gym and presented Sarah with the bell peppers. Her response was unforgettable to me as tears of gratitude rolled down her face. She said that she had been having a hard time lately and that the gift really made her day.

She was lifted by my wife's thoughtful gesture, and our kids talked excitedly about how good it feels to help others.

If we turned this into a Mastercard commercial, it could be summed up like this:
  • Climbing session for 12 kids: $300
  • Bag of bell peppers: $7
  • Making somebody's day... priceless!

Quick Disclaimer and a Few Color Code Lessons:

DISCLAIMER: This story is not about me, and I really don't deserve much credit. My RED wife saw the opportunity and made it happen.

Color Code Lessons:

  1. Any one of the four "Colors" can serve and lift others.

    We typically see BLUES as the most naturally service-oriented and thoughtful group, and they deserve every bit of that reputation. Likewise, we know that REDS are very task-dominant and can struggle with selfishness. It would have been very easy - and even natural - for my wife to check the party off of her "to-do" list and never look back. Instead, (as she commonly does), she chose to set her own needs aside to serve somebody else.
  2. A related lesson to the first is this:

    Sometimes we are best remembered for the gifts we stretch to give.

    I'm not saying that Sarah had enough context to fully appreciate this... but my children did.

    They know that Mom is busy, efficient, and productive, so to see her have the thought to serve somebody and then take the time to act on it made it even more memorable for them.

    Imagine the impact of doing something unexpected for someone who really knows you - like a co-worker or family member. If they see you go out of your way or do something out of character to help them, they will view your action as being even more meaningful.
  3. Small things can have a huge impact.

    The bell peppers story is just one example. I've worked with RED, BLUE, WHITE, and YELLOW leaders over the years who have lifted others in simple, yet effective ways. This doesn't have to be hard. A simple "thank you" note or a small act of kindness can make a huge difference, as could taking someone out to lunch, or offering to help finish a project so a co-worker can get to a family event.

Do you believe that by lifting others, we also rise?

Can you imagine the impact we would have on our workplaces, our families, and the world, if we just took 2 minutes a day to get outside of our own heads and serve someone else?

We only have to do 3 simple things:

  1. Set the goal of finding one small opportunity to lift another person each day.
  2. Pay attention for opportunities.
  3. Take immediate action.

I challenge all of us to give service a try. In the act of lifting others, everybody wins.

Very best of living,

Jeremy Daniel
VP of Training for Color Code
Founder of Color Code Classroom

Jeremy has worked with top-level executives all over the country and internationally as an expert speaker and seasoned consultant/trainer specializing in creating bottom-line success through the concepts of MOTIVE, EQ Development, Team Building, Sales Effectiveness, and other specialized areas of Interpersonal Dynamics.

His client list includes reputable organizations such as Microsoft, Kroger, Allstate Insurance, Louisville Slugger, GlaxoSmithKline, Pfizer, Wells Fargo, Wachovia, Whitbread, and the US Federal Government.



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