In this series of posts, Influencers and members predict the ideas and trends that will shape 2015. Read all the stories here and write your own (please include the hashtag #BigIdeas2015 in the body of your post).
Around the holidays there are so many grand events set up for giving back. These events are wonderful and surely serve a purpose but honestly many of us don’t have the time or money to attend such elaborate fundraisers. If we do have the time, it often becomes more about the photo opportunities, tax write offs and obligations than it does about the organic act of giving.
We live in a society where everything moves a million miles per minute and maintaining a work life balance is becoming much harder to maintain. I myself am a dedicated working professional with an amazing (and demanding) day job, who works evening consulting projects all while being a mother extraordinaire to my one year old daughter whom I have full custody of. I more often than not sacrifice sleep to work on projects while my daughter is sleeping as to not miss out on critical bonding time with her.
My story is not uncommon, simply put as business professionals we are often worn thin. Where then, are those of us not fortunate enough to have the time for cocktail hours and Wednesday wine mixers supposed to find the time to help others? The answer is much simpler than you think.
2015 as I see it; or more accurately as I like to see it is the year of small acts of kindness and charity committed by average people. You don’t need to build a house or buy an entire family Christmas to be someone’s hero (though I urge you to do these things if you can). If you are strapped for time like I am find ways to fit kindness into your daily routines.
If you are still confused, I have two real life examples of how you can make a difference without breaking the bank or altering your entire life. Every day I drive home past an intersection where I see a young man with some very apparent physical disabilities who is obviously homeless. One day on my way home I popped through the drive through and grabbed a sandwich and when I got to the intersection I called him over and gave him the warm meal. To me it was the simplest act of kindness and he was so grateful he nearly cried.
Every Sunday I take my daughter to the park to feed the swans and geese while we have breakfast overlooking the lake. We often see the same homeless residents of the neighborhood during our walk and always wave and tell them good morning when we walk by. One woman in particular lights up when she sees my daughter and just this Sunday a thought occurred to me. I may be kind enough to say hello but I am always walking by with a sandwich in hand and nice warm coffee. This past Sunday I went to a local bakery and picked up some extra options and found this woman and gave her a choice of what she’d like to eat for breakfast. Once again, I did not have to sacrifice time with my daughter or upset our weekly routine but the reaction was powerful. She was in total shock and told me nobody every thinks of her or even notices her.
If you are reading this post you are more than likely a fellow business professional. The acts that often have the most impact aren’t the grand gestures they are the very small ones that somebody just does not expect. As working professionals we have the power and in my mind the responsibility to find ways to give back to our communities. Even if you are as busy as I am or short on cash you can find the time or spare change to make an impact in somebody else life.
I am asking all of you in 2015 to look at your lives differently. Look at your daily routine in a more critical way. Who do you walk past, drive by or live close to that you could help? Does your elderly neighbor need their lawn mowed? Does your cube-mate need some extra help because she took last week off to deal with a very sick child or an ailing parent? The possibilities of small acts of kindness are limitless if you just stop truly look at the people you encounter in your daily lives. I look forward to you all joining me in bringing a new meaning to professionalism in 2015.