“Nothing is of more value than the people you connect with — the lesson, the experience, and the gift of that interaction is more impactful than the event itself.”
As I embarked and reflected on my recent twenty-two day driving and cycling adventure to the Pacific Northwest and back, one of the keys to the success of this trips was friends. I was introduced to new friends by old ones, I reconnected with old friends, and continued to expand and grow the list of people who I would call my friend. While I spent over five hundred hours away from home, much of it in the quiet solitude of my car or on my bike, I was never really felt alone. It felt like everywhere I went I was blessed with the opportunity to enjoy the gift of a personal relationship — new or old.
We spend far too much time focused on the pace, productivity, and outcomes of our physical dreams. As we chase our career path, improve our financial situation, raise our children and manage all those activities, it seems there is little left for sharing our time, our energy, and our gifts with others – especially strangers in need.
If you are looking at the act of being or becoming a friend as work, time, energy, and effort you probably benefit from adjusting your perspective. What is the cost of a smile, a cup of coffee, a kind word, a receptive or supportive ear, or an encouraging thought? You appreciate that gift from others, try paying it back even when it isn’t easy or convenient.
At my talk in Portland, one of the attendees asked me, “What do you do when you are giving love and the person isn’t giving it back?” My immediate response was, “Stop keeping score!”
We are busy. We all feel pressed for time and have so little to spare. Some times it may seem like everyone wants a piece of you — energy, inspiration, or advice. It can be very challenging to stop and give, especially when you are rushing through your busy day.
My advice to you is simple:
- Be nice to a stranger today — a smile, a handshake, a compliment, a wave.
- Take a moment to listen to someone who asks you “do you have a minute?” — give them ten and hear what they have to say.
- Offer the gift of your energy, your experience, and your wisdom to an individual who asks for your help.
- Celebrate every opportunity you have to be a light to someone else — it affirms who you are and what you offer the world.
“Every day that I don’t share my gifts, talents, experience, and perspectives is a day I may not be available to offer someone else exactly what they looking for. Because they are gifts, I do not have the right to withhold them.”
People come into our lives in a wide variety of ways and for many unknown reasons. They can become friends, acquaintances, trusted advisers, or more. Many add value, energy, and joy to our lives in ways that are not always predictable or foreseeable. I have been blessed with much more than I have given and am grateful to all who have shared their love, joy, and energy with me. Thank goodness no one was keeping score!