As I’ve probably mentioned in the past, I’m a big fan and reader of personal / professional / leadership development books, podcasts and other content – and I’ve started to notice a theme.
After the author / speaker charts out their path for success, creating wealth, etc. some of them end with a very powerful message – Give Back!
“To whom much is given, much will be required” Luke 12:48
It’s one thing to to acquire all the wealth, prestige, success, accolades, etc. – people do that all the time. However, what really stands out – what really creates a lasting impact, is when we give back… when we make a contribution in the lives of those around us.
Thinking about the world of sports, it’s easy to rattle off a laundry list of names that wow us week in and week out with their skills, on the field success and moments of greatness.
Yet, if that’s all they do, how many of them will we remember as the years go by…
So let me give you a list of some of those names, but with the caveat that this list is actually so more than just a list of stars…
- J.J Watt
- Eli Manning
- Larry Fitzgerald
- Jason Witten
- Kurt Warner
- LeDainian Tomlinson
- Drew Brees
- Payton Manning
Yes, these names are synonymous with greatness in the sport of football… and they are also synonymous with something far more important – contribution.
All of these players have one very important thing in common – they, along with many others, have all been named the Walter Payton Man of the Year – an award that honors the players who make the biggest impact through volunteer work, charity, and giving back while also excelling on the field.
What an incredible standard… playing at world class and prioritizing the time to give back.
So today I want to urge all of us, as we grow towards being our very best, to become more and more generous with our resources, time, skills and kindness, because by continuing to give of our ourselves, we will create an immeasurable return on investment.
This post along with some of the other posts I’ve written in the past are by far my favorite – not just for the positive message, but rather because they were inspired by some of the people closest to me.
Today’s post on contribution is really thanks to my parents and many of their close friends.
For months now, my parents and their friends have been tirelessly planning a benefit for one of their mutual friends who is battling cancer. They secured the venue, got the word out (which resulted in a sold out event), planned the entertainment, food, logistics, and put together countless gift baskets and other items to aide in their efforts to raise funds to support their friend – all of which resulted in a huge success.
It’s selfless acts and events like these that are beyond inspirational.
Regardless of how much was raised, it all comes down to the fact that these people put in the blood, sweat and tears to make this a success for the pure benefit of their friend and with absolutely no desire or thought of getting anything in return.
Too often we fall victim to the rat race and become conditioned to look at things through the lens of what’s in it for me.
Let’s take a lesson from those around us that completely give of themselves with the pure intention of making the world a better place.
Thank you dad, mom and all your friends for being an inspiration to me.
Make a Contribution, Create Impact
Despite the examples noted above – the benefit put on by my parents and their friends, and the various charitable foundations those Walter Payton award winners founded – making a contribution does not have to be a huge event.
The truth is, opportunities to make a contribution are everywhere around us each and every day. We just need to be looking for them…
“Only those who have learned the power of sincere and selfless contribution experience life’s deepest joy: true fulfillment.” – Tony Robbins
So in hopes of lighting a fire in all of us to give back, I want to walk through what contribution can look like, the proper mindset, and finally get to that return on investment I mentioned earlier.
Opportunities for contribution are everywhere
If we keep our eyes open, we have the incredible opportunity to make meaningful contributions each and every day of our life. We all have gifts, talents, resources and a desire to be our best and make an impact. To that end, here are a few simple yet impactful ways that we can give of ourselves and make the world around us a better place:
- Charitable giving – whether your donation is big or small, you are helping that organization take one more step towards their vision (cure cancer, stop hunger, provide clean water for everyone, etc.) – find a cause you are passionate about and help them take that one next step forward
- Donate your time – volunteer at a homeless shelter, nursing home, food bank, after school program, or for other organizations that need support and extra hands – find a cause that speaks to you and invest your time with them
- Donate your skills (pro-bono) – We all have so much to give when it comes to our talents and skills – sign up to be a mentor or tutor, or donate your skills as an accountant, lawyer, leadership coach, etc. to those who may not be able to afford such services and can have their life changed by getting them anyway – give your gifts and make an impact!
- Random acts of kindness – this is where the magic can happen each and every day… so don’t over think it – hold the door open for someone, give up your seat on the bus or train, offer to help carry a heavy load, pay for the person’s coffee behind you, offer a sincere compliment or just lend an ear for someone who is having a rough day – if we all took the time for these little things, the collective good that they would create could move mountains
Actions & Motives
When we choose to make a contribution in our world, we need to make sure we do it for the right reasons. As mentioned above, we need to change our lens and stop looking at what is in it for us as that linking severely limits the potential positive impact we can have on those around us. So to that end, when you choose to give…
- Make the contribution with no expectations of anything in return – act for the benefit of others – build that selfless mind set and watch all the good that you will create
The Return on Investment of Contribution: Your Well-Being
Despite what I said above about giving with no intention of getting anything in return, I also want to highlight the fact that you do get something back, and it’s powerful.
I want to echo again that we must make contributions with no expectation of anything in return from those you help – it’s only then that we can truly realize the benefits and return on your investment.
In the book, Start Here: A Groundbreaking, Science-Based Program for Emotional Fitness, the authors touch on the following benefits from making positive contributions:
“Acts of contribution lead to increased optimism, enhanced immunity, and a neurological shift that scientists call the helper’s high“
Not a bad payoff if you ask me.
In short, making positive and impactful contributions in the world around us makes us feel great, and as the quote from Tony Robbins noted above, helps us experience true fulfillment in our lives.
Be Your Best & Give Your Best to Others
So much of what Will Athletic means to me is around putting in the hard work in the areas of your body, mind and spirit to become your best self… but that’s not where it ends.
As part of our journey to become our best, it is my hope and quite honestly our collective responsibility in this life to give our very best self to others.
Despite some of the well-being and neurological benefits noted above, I challenge all of us, and myself especially, to make a conscious and focused effort to make a contribution and positive impact in the world each and every day – big or small.
And do so for no other reason that to positively touch the lives of others.
Unleash your Inner Athlete to be your best and give your best. Now get out there and contribute!
Discussion Question: What is one way that you can make a positive and impactful contribution in someone’s life this week? Build the contribution muscle and up your reps from there!
Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that I have mentioned. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."