Are you hungry?
I don’t mean craving food, though you may want a box of chocolates now that I raised the topic. What I mean is, do you approach your work in a mode of devouring or consuming? Are you in the business of taking?
I ask these questions because I believe turning hunger on its proverbial head can turn your business (and your life) around. What if you approached your work in a mode of feeding others? What if you were in the business of bestowing? What if you focused on what you give customers or (if you’re a nonprofit) donors, rather than on what you need from them? Would you end up less or more hungry?
As I’ve said before, some of the best advice I ever heard was from Seth Godin, who said: “Be generous when you’re hungry. It’s difficult to be generous when you’re hungry. Yet being generous keeps you from going hungry. Hence the conflict.” He’s right. Generosity inspires generosity, so I try to think like this: I’ll give when I’m hungry. It’s not what I need, it’s what I provide. I’m in the business of giving, not extracting. I’ll focus on the resources I have, not those I lack. I’ll care about relationships, not transactions. True partnership with donors creates prosperity.
How about trying this for one day, and make that day this Thursday? To some, it’s Valentine’s Day. To me, it will always be Generosity Day.
Two years ago, I joined Sasha Dichter’s Valentine’s Day experiment in generosity. The idea was simple: reclaim Valentine’s Day and imbue it with true love – the kind where you give without expectation. Generosity Day is when you seek to be selfless and see what happens when generosity becomes your default.
This Valentine’s Day, be generous even if you’re hungry. Do something big or something small. Give of your money, your time, your talent, your love or anything special that in unique to you. We’ve seen people tell their colleagues why they’re wonderful, buy coffee for strangers or give blood. You could write a note to a mentor who touched your life. Or call a donor and say how much they mean to your organization. Thank a volunteer. Smile at everyone in the street. There are more great ideas here.
Try it – for just one day – this February 14th. Be a metaphorical donor instead of a fundraiser. You could choose to begin the day with a simple act of kindness to a colleague, supporter or stranger. You could be wildly generous all day long. You could do that beautiful and needed thing that your heart’s been whispering to you to do. It takes 30 seconds to visit SpreadGenerosity and select your small act of generosity. You’ll be adding yours to tens of thousands, and together we’ll transform Feb14th into Generosity Day and offer the world a million acts of kindness and generosity.
What will happen? You may find you’re better off than when you started. You may find what you put out there comes back. And you may be less hungry – and more fulfilled.